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No rollback of Agnipath scheme, 1.25 lakh Agniveers will be recruited starting from this month: The major announcements at tri-services press conference

"We want a mix of josh and hosh and that is why we wanted to reduce the age profile. The average age is 32 years at present and we want to reduce it as per the recommendations of the Kargil review committee and Arun Singh committee report", said Let Gen Anil Puri

On Sunday, senior military officials from the Indian Army, Navy and the Air Force held a joint press conference regarding the Centre’s Agnipath Scheme. The Tri-Service press conference was held in Delhi to clear misconceptions around the recruitment process in the defence forces, which caused a furore among some sections of the youth.

It was presided over by Lt. Gen. Anil Puri, Additional Secretary in the Department of Military Affairs, Lt Gen Bansi Ponappa from the Army, Vice Admiral Dinesh Tripathi from the Navy and Air Marshal Suraj Jha from the Air Force. During the meet, the officers announced a barrage of new salient features of the policy.

At the Outset, Lt General Anil Puri thrusted upon the need and the intent behind the Agniveer scheme. Puri expressed that this reform was long pending. “We want to bring youthfulness and experience with this reform. Today, a large number of jawan are in their 30s and officers are getting command much later than in the past. Agniveer will bring in the ideal mix of experience and youth,” he added.

Puri added that the scheme has been introduced as per recommendations of the Kargil review committee and Arun Singh committee. “We want a mix of josh and hosh and that is why we wanted to reduce the age profile. The average age is 32 years at present and we want to reduce it as per the recommendations of the Kargil review committee and Arun Singh committee report,” he said.

He informed that the Agniveers will receive same allowances in areas like Siachen and other areas which are applicable to the regular soldiers at present. No discrimination against them in service conditions, Lt. Gen Puri added. ‘Agniveers’ will also get a compensation for Rs 1 crore if they sacrifice their life in service of the nation.

The officer also informed that the defence top brass had not anticipated the violence over the scheme while designing it.

No defence job for rioters

Lt Gen Puri announced that those who are part of violence against the Agnipath scheme will be not allowed to join the defence forces. Saying that “there is no place for indiscipline in the Armed Forces”, he informed that all applicants under the scheme will have to submit a written pledge that they didn’t indulge in any violence or arson. He also informed that police verification of the candidates will be conducted and if any FIR is filed against anyone, they will be barred from joining the armed forces.

No rollback

Lt General Anil Puri made it clear that the Agnipath scheme will not be rolled back as demanded by some opposition parties and violent protestors. “Coming to the rollback of the scheme, no. Why should it be rolled back? It is the only progressive step to making the country young. Why is it being made young? We are tinkering with ‘Desk ki Raksha’. There is no space. I will give you an example. Do you know how many casualties are reported just for health purposes from high-altitude areas? Do read about it, then you would come to know why young is important,” the officer said.

Plans to ramp up the recruitment numbers in future

Delving further on the recruitment process of Agnipath, Lt. Gen. Anil Puri announced that the intake of ‘Agniveers’ will go up to 1.25 lakhs in near future and will not remain at 46,000 which is the present figure. “In next 4-5 years, our intake will be 50,000-60,000 & will increase to 90,000 to 1 lakh subsequently. We’ve started small at 46,000 to analyse the scheme and to build up infra capacity until then,” Lt General Anil Puri said, who currently serves as the Additional Secy in the Dept of Military Affairs, in the Defence Ministry.

Puri added that the announcements regarding the reservations for ‘Agniveers’ announced by the different ministries and departments were pre-planned and ‘not in reaction to the arson that happened after Agnipath scheme announcement’. Several State Governments including Harayana, UP and other Central Ministries announced a slew of opportunity windows and recruitment preferences for Agnipath graduates after four years.

Responding to the question on a 4-year job in the forces, Lt Gen Puri informed that already around 17000 people leave their jobs in the armed forces per year, and it is not that everyone wants to serve in the armed forces for a long term. “Around 17,600 people are taking premature retirement from the three Services every year. No one ever tried to ask them what they will do after retirement,” he said.

Benefits and opportunities for the Agniveers

Lt. Gen Puri highlighted on the Seva Nidhi Package of Rs 11.71 lakh at the end of the term to the candidates, which if combined with the total pay of Rs 16.74 lakh adds up to Rs 23.24 lakh total income in four years for an Agniveer.

After completing the Agnipath programme after four years, the Agniveers would enjoy 10% reservations in the Central Armed Police Force CAPFs and Assam Rifles as announced by the Ministry of Homes Affairs. Furthermore, Several Ministries including the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Highways, and Ministry of Education among others have announced certificate, degree and bridging programmes for the aspirants to pursue.

Lt Gen Anil Puri said that an Agniveer will get compensation for one crore rupees if he sacrifices his life in service of the nation, during the service. Furthermore, The ‘Agniveers’ would get the same allowance in contested areas like Siachen and other areas which are applicable to the regular soldiers serving at present. “No discrimination against them in service conditions,” he added.

Women Agniveers in the Navy

Vice Admiral Dinesh Tripathi said that from November 21 this year, the first naval ‘Agniveers’ will start reaching the training establishment INS Chilka, Odisha. “Both female and male Agniveers are allowed for this,” he added.

“Indian Navy has 30 women officers at present sailing on different Indian Navy ships. We have decided that under the Agnipath scheme, we will recruit women also. They will be deployed on warships too,” Vice Admiral Tripathi expressed.

Recruitment Process to start on June 24, 2022

Lt Gen Bansi Ponappa talked about the Recruitment schedule of the Agnipath Scheme. “By December first week, we will get the first batch of 25,000 ‘Agniveers’ and the second batch would be inducted around February 2023 making it 40,000,” he added. Air Marshal SK Jha announced that the registration process for the very first batch of Agnipath will commence on June 24, 2022.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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