Retired army officers with decades of defence services experience today hailed the recently launched Agnipath scheme and urged youth to take it as a golden opportunity to serve the nation. In a press conference organised here on Monday, Brigadier BG Pathak (Retd) said that the scheme is a transformational reform, which is beneficial not only for the Armed Forces, but also for the Youth of the Country as well as our civil society at large.
He said that the purpose of the scheme is to make the Armed Forces younger, fitter and tech savvy in the backdrop of emerging character of warfare, thus creating requirement for technically qualified youth to meet challenges of future battle field.
“The 'Agnipath' scheme will increase the technological threshold of the soldiers by carrying out recruitment from ITIs (Industrial Training Institutes) and other technical establishment (National Skill Development Centres) and also reduce the average age profile of the Indian Armed Forces from 32 years to 24-26 years by 2030,” he said.
“The scheme was announced with the dual purpose of providing employment for a large base of youth & requirement of Armed Forces. However, it was perceived negatively by some sections across the country. Herein, we would like to highlight that Raksha Mantri has conveyed that other ministries & state governments have expressed willingness to accord priority in absorbing ‘Agniveers’ for government Jobs after completion of 4 years. It is emphasised that it was expressly mentioned by Raksha Mantralay that announcement for same would come in 2-3 days. However, even before such announcement & full scope of the scheme could be understood there were protests by youth due to their misplaced fear,” said the army veteran.
The Brigadier (Retd) informed that in line with the statement of Raksha Mantri, on 18 Jun 22 several additional announcements have been made by Central Government and some State Governments to address the concerns of youth, to provide options for second employment for Agniveers after 4 years. Some of them include (a)age relaxation from 21 to 23 years for the first year to provide fair opportunity for youth affected by the last 2 years gap due to COVID. (b) Lifetime recognition as Agniveers (c) Easy loan after 4 years to establish own business. (d) Reservation of 10% in jobs of CAPF & ARs and 3 years age relaxation beyond prescribed upper age limit (5 years relaxation for first batch). (e) 10% reservation in the Indian Coast Guard. Defence Civilian Posts and 16 Defence PSUs. (f) Ministry of Ports, Shipping and water ways announced 6 service avenues for smooth transition of Agniveers.
Also, (g) PSUs under Housing and Petroleum Ministries are working on hiring Agniveers after their 4 years’ service. (h) Special three years skilled based bachelor degree programme for serving defence personnel by the Ministry of Education. (j) Uttar Pradesh. Priority to Agniveers in recruitment to Police and related services. (k) Haryana. Preference in job and others works to youth who complete their service. (l) Assam Preference in recruitment to state police (m) Karnataka. Induction of Agniveers into state police after completion of 4years service
The scheme has been deliberately thought through over past two years which has also been highlighted by Chief of Naval Staff during interview to a channel, "It is the single biggest human resource management transformation in Indian Military, Protests are happening due to misinformation and misunderstanding"
Army PC -1: Brigadier (Retd) BG Pathak with Brigadier (Retd)Niranjan Kumar during a press conference at Army office in Ranchi on Monday. Pix by Vinay Murmu