Home GLOBAL NEWS Government unveils radical scheme to recruit soldiers for 4 years | India News – Times of India

Government unveils radical scheme to recruit soldiers for 4 years | India News – Times of India

Government unveils radical scheme to recruit soldiers for 4 years | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: The government on Tuesday announced the radical and far-reaching ‘Agnipath’ scheme to recruit all new soldiers only for four years, deploying defence minister Rajnath Singh and the three Service chiefs to stave off criticism that it will hit the professionalism, ethos and fighting spirit of the armed forces as well as possibly lead to militarisation of civil society. Under the Agnipath scheme, approved by the PM-led cabinet committee on security, the process to recruit 46,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen this year will begin on an “all-India, all-class” basis within 90 days.
The ‘Agniveers’ will get a monthly salary of Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000, with the 75% of them who get demobilised after four years getting a ‘Seva Nidhi’ exit package of Rs 11.71 lakh, half of which will be through their own contributions. The remaining 25% will be inducted into the regular cadres of the armed forces to serve another 15 years. The Agnipath scheme will also be “progressively opened” for women based on service requirements.

Rajnath Singh described it as a “transformative initiative” to usher in a more youthful profile in the over 14-lakh strong armed forces, with the average age of soldiers gradually being brought down from the existing 32 to 24-26, as well as make them modern, tech-savvy and well-equipped to deal with the myriad challenges ahead. “Don’t doubt the scheme. It will strengthen national security,” Singh said.

By slashing the ballooning salary and pension bills, which take up almost half of the annual defence budget, the government hopes to have more money for military modernisation with infusion of cutting-edge technologies.
The ploughing back of skilled, disciplined, motivated and patriotic Agniveers into civil society after the four-year military service, would prove to be a great asset and a “win-win proposition” for the nation, Singh said.

There is, however, apprehension that around 35,000 “trained-to-kill” soldiers being demobilised every year could prove dangerous if they remain jobless and frustrated. “It will lead to militarisation of society… It’s not a good idea,” former DGMO Lt-General Vinod Bhatia (retd) said. Singh, on his part, said Agniveers will be given priority in jobs by central ministries, departments and PSUs as well as state governments. General Manoj Pande said the senior military leadership was “fully convinced of the benefits” of the Agnipath scheme, which aims to make the Army “a future-ready fighting force capable of meeting multiple challenges across the entire spectrum of conflict”. “I want to assure you that during the implementation and stabilisation of the Agni path scheme, the Army’s operational capabilities and preparedness along the borders and the ability to deal with internal security challenges will be fully maintained,” he said.

Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari said the IAF will impart a wide range of training and exposure to the Agniveers in aviation, weapons and sophisticated ground systems. “Agniveers who rejoin civil society will be ‘job ready’,” he said.
With women officers already deployed on frontline warships, Admiral R Hari Kumar said women sailors will also be part of the Navy’s Agnipath scheme, which will provide the armed forces with “a wider talent pool” and prove to be a “positive development” for human resource management in their ranks.


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