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What is agneepath and is India ready for a scheme like this?

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In a historic decision, the Union cabinet rolled out Agneepath for the youth to join the Armed Forces for a period of 4 years, who will be known as Agniveers. A great opportunity for those who join Armed Forces, will be called Agni veer, who will have an opportunity to be part of the services for 4 years. It is a voluntary scheme.

How this scheme is beneficial ?

What is agneepath and is India ready for a scheme like this? -Centre believes that this scheme will be beneficial for youth as it creates more opportunities for more youngsters, for those who want to serve the nation. After every 4 years new people would come and join as Agni veers, even when the nation gets old our forces will have young and stronger people joining in after every 4years. 25% of Agni veers will be retained in the Army which means 4 out of 1 will be inducted in the forces and after completing 4 years they will be given a package of 12lakhs. Inductees will be referred to as Agniveers, where both women and men are eligible to apply for the 4 year term which also includes their training.

There have been questions and doubts about what will happen to the youngsters after they retire only in the age of 25 from the forces, people who have been opposing the scheme were the ones who had applied 2 years back and the process dint move forward due to covid-19 and now their age to join the forces has crossed. These youngsters will have an experience in the forces, a chance to serve the nation, get discipline into their own lives and will be stable compared to most people of their age. With the salary along with the benefits and package they could even start their own business, they will get an easy access to get a loan as well. Apart from this, Agni veers will get a certification and opportunity to be employed in state police departments-

  • Central armed police forces:
  • Assam rifles

After completion of class 10th when inductees join the Agni path scheme, they will be given full chance to finish their 12th as well while they are training for the forces.

Agneepath Yojna

While giving a briefing, Lt Gen Bansi Ponnappa showed a brief presentation regarding Agneepath for each of the 3 services on doubts and recruitment process also letting out the pros of rolling out Agneepath. Also making it known that Agneepath had been discussed 2 years back and the scheme was studied and reviewed properly. This was a reform which was due since long, in 1989 the process had to come to its initial stages, even in the Kargil review meeting which lead to CDS. The age had to be brought down as all studies showed that every country had a YOUNG ARMY, age turned out to be the common factor.

Protests:

Violent protests broke out in several states-Bihar, Rajasthan and UP against Agneepath after Rajnathh Singh Defense Minister. Congress party held massive protest against Agneepath, in a video they can be seen demanding to take back the scheme. Violent protests broke out in different parts of the country

  • In Varanasi, people protested against Agneepath and eventually the protest spread across the state of Uttar Pradesh where damages to public property, vandalism took place. District magistrate of Varanasi municipality on 21st June announced the damage done to 36 buses during the protest on 17th June concluding to a loss of Rs 12.97 Lakh. So far 27 accused are in custody and others have been identified for causing vandalism. Protesters were warned to not indulge in such vandalism which could jeopardize their future.
  • Farmers also staged protests in Haryana, Punjab- Agnipath is an anti-farmer and anti-national scheme, says the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM). Farmers staged protests in several parts of Haryana against Agneepath
  • Karnal witnessed protests outside the Mini Secretariat, raising slogans against the scheme.
  • Bihar: Railway track in Buxar was blocked, in Muzaffarpur things were set on fire and roads were blocked 11

‘‘The foundation of the Indian Army is discipline. There is no place for arson and vandalism. Applicants for the Agneepath project will be given a declaration to each person that they were not part of the anti-angeepath protest or vandalism. Police verification will be done and without it no one can join the forces’’ said Lt Gen Anil Puri, Additional Secretary, and Department of Military Affairs

Criteria for joining in as Agniveer: Differ in accordance with the post of soldiers and officers. Official posts can only be held by officers retiring from the forces, can serve in SSC for up to 14years with increments. In the first year Agni veers will be given a salary package of 4.76 lakh which will increase each year and by the 4th year it will rise up to Rs 6.29 Lakh

Even after massive protests and disagreements Indian Air force received over 94,281 applications already. More than needing pension, the youth of today wants independence. Being a voluntary scheme, it puts no pressure on anyone, people who join will join because they want to serve the nation with their own will.

There were many veterans who were also against Agniveer:

Lt Gen KJ Singh and Jaishankar Menon, along with Maj Gen VK Madhok, raised concerns over the fact that training for a combat soldier cannot be done in only 4 years and that it would compromise with our national security. Further going on to express their worries about Agniveers finding jobs later on, where they will be recruited as guards and wouldn’t find respectful jobs and would eventually depend on the pension itself which Agniveers will not have. Several people in and out of the armed forces feel like these soldiers after finishing 4 years will be privy to sensitive information and could indulge with crime syndicates or even intelligence agencies.

We need a scheme like Agneepath for the forces as it was a well thought out decision. Studied for 2 years and was being heavily persuaded by Late Defence Minister Manohar Parekar and late Chief of Defence staff Bipin Rawat, initially they had thought of introducing agneepath only to the Army for testing purposes. There are several countries who are following the same:

China- In 2003, to cut down its 2.5 million of forces President Xi Jingping reduced the army size to under 1 million and decided to rearrange the number by increasing soldiers in the Navy and Air Force stating that quality matters and not quantity.

Great Britain- in 2003 the army reduced its size to a 20% with 82,000 combatants

United Kingdom- in 2021 there was a review in regards with the age criteria, the strength will further reduce to 10,000 soldiers so there could be more investments in technology

Russia- The military in Russia operates and fights in brigades and not in larger divisions

USA- Comprises of leaner armed forces as USA is also financial issues. Pentagon has decided to cut down the budget massively. Downsizing 40,000 personnel’s

The idea behind reducing manpower in the armed forces is to invest more money in tech, augmentation, intelligence systems and increasing cyberspace capabilities.

[author title=”Shefali Kochhar,” image=”http://goachronicle.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Screenshot_20210321-160233_LinkedIn.jpg”]Journalist, Goa Chronicle .

I am an entrepreneur who has tried her hands on various ventures like Electric Vehicle Charging Station , Online Retail Store / Trading and few more ventures. I have done my entrepreneurship from Amity University Noida.

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Shefali Kochhar
Shefali Kochhar
From politics to startups 'Reflecting light on issues that go unspoken about'

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