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‘Armed forces are not NREGA’: Scholar Anand Ranganathan gives 7 reasons for supporting the Agnipath scheme

Citing late Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Anand Ranganathan emphasised that the armed forces are not employment

Amidst the violent protests that have overshadowed the newly launched Agnipath scheme, scientist and political commentator Anand Ranganathan has emerged as the voice of sanity.

During a debate on Times Now on Thursday (June 16), he listed 7 reasons for supporting the army recruitment scheme. At the very onset, Anand Ranganathan pointed out that the Agnipath scheme has the unequivocal support of the Chiefs of the three wings of the Indian Armed Forces.

“Across decades and governments, I cannot think of a single instance when our Chiefs have knowingly taken a decision, not in the interest of either the Armed Forces or the nation. if they are supporting this scheme, then, they would have banged their heads together on this one and ironed out all the possible impediments,” he remarked.

Citing late Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Anand Ranganathan emphasised that the armed forces are not employment schemes. He said, “They are not MGNREGA. I am sorry. In fact, they should be and they are one of the toughest forces and places to gain entry.”

“Only the best should be chosen and once they are (chosen), they should be routinely tested so that they remain the best. If our military feels that there should be multiple rounds of merit-based competitions, by all means, it should be encouraged to implement such a policy,” he further added.

Thirdly, Anand Ranganathan pointed out that such recruitment schemes are prevalent in other nations as well such as China, Russia, France and the United States. “India is not an exception,” he highlighted.

Anand Ranganathan highlights the benefits of the Agnipath scheme

Given that the fate of the nation rests on its armed forces in the event of foreign aggression, he emphasised the need for a young, and fit army. “The UPSC and the IITs have a multi-level selection process. So why not the army forces,” inquired Anand Ranganathan.

The political commentator then took a deep dive into the merits of the Agnipath scheme. “You have a merit-based inclusion, after which you are trained for 4 years. At the end of it, you accumulate more than 10 lacs and then you get an opportunity to further compete for a position in defence forces,” he stated.

Anand Ranganathan added, “Those who do not succeed at this second step, come out of it with a degree, 10 lacs, a glowing certificate of having served the country at such a young age and inculcated the values of discipline and national service.

He pointed out how several States are now thinking about inducting the Agniveers into police forces, paramilitary services and other agencies. “I can’t think of better takes on the CV of a 21-year-old, can you?” he asked.

Dismisses claims of naysayers and recruitment of Agniveers in terror outfits

Sixth, the political commentator rubbished claims and aspersions that Agniveers would be recruited by the underworld and terrorist organisations on completion of their stint with the Indian armed forces.

“I am sorry but this is ridiculous. This is as ridiculous as saying that once rejected for the national team for Olympic boxing or shot put, the 10s and 1000s of boxers and shot putters would be recruited by stone pelters and thugs,” he stressed.

Anand Ranganathan urged his audience to not blindly follow the naysayers, whose hatred for the Indian Prime Minister had made them oppose toilets for the poor. He also added a word of caution for his viewers.

“We have seen how this government repeatedly brings great schemes and policies but in reaction to Opposition prodding and street violence, hastily retreats. Farm laws, just being one glaring example. Who knows this government might take back this scheme too, which would be a pity,” he concluded.

Demands of students and violent protests

One of the grievances of the armed force aspirants is that only 25% of the Agniveers, recruited under the new scheme, will get the opportunity to continue for a full term. Many have also cried foul over the lack of pensionary benefits.

Some of the students have also complained that the recruitment in the Indian army was halted for a period of 2 years due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus. They claim that their future will be shrouded in obscurity with the implementation of the new scheme.

“It takes us 3 years to prepare for Indian army exams. We prepare for 3 years and get to serve only 4. What is there for us after we retire? The government is saying that we will get to join the IT sector. What will I do? Become a security guard. Is that what I am preparing for?” said a protestor on News 24.

In a bid to hold the State to ransom and force the government to withdraw the Agnipath scheme, the students resorted to violence and vandalism. Damage to private and public property, and large-scale arson attacks were observed in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana.

The grim law and order situation, created by the armed forces aspirants, forced former Army General VK Singh to rule that they are unfit to become part of the Indian army.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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