Indian ministers hail new military recruitment scheme amid protests

'Agnipath' was recently launched by the government in an effort to bring a change in the recruitment process of the Armed Forces



Rajnath Singh (Photo: AFP)
Rajnath Singh (Photo: AFP)

By ANI

Published: Fri 17 Jun 2022, 10:33 AM

Last updated: Fri 17 Jun 2022, 11:20 AM

Protests were held soon after the Agnipath scheme was announced, in which youth can enrol to serve in the Armed Forces for a period of four years. Agnipath will bring in men and women between the ages of 17 and 21 for a four-year tenure, with only a quarter retained for longer periods.

Several aspirants have raised reservations over the new process. They say that it can potentially affect the future of serving personnel.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday vouched for the Central government’s decision to approve the ‘Agnipath’ scheme and said that it gives a golden opportunity to the youth to join the defence system and serve the country.

Rajnath Singh said to ANI, “The Agnipath scheme by the Central government gives a golden opportunity to the youth of the country to join the defence system and serve the country. ‘I am Agniveer’ creates a unique identity for them.”

Those that enter the Agnipath programme will be known as 'Agniveers'.

“Due to a snag in the recruitment process in the army for two years, many youths did not get the opportunity to join the army. This is a fact. That is why, keeping in mind the future of the youth and showing sensitivity towards them, with the approval of the Prime Minister, the government has decided that this time the age limit for the recruitment of Agniveers should be increased from 21 to 23 years,” he added.

“This one-time relaxation has been given by the government. This will automatically increase the eligibility of many young people to become Agniveers. The recruitment process is going to start in a few days. I appeal to all the youth to prepare for joining the army and take full advantage of it,” he said.

Union Minister of State Rajeev Chandrasekhar also hailed the Centre’s decision to approve the scheme and called it a “much-required” reform in the defence sector.

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“Agnipath is much-required reform. It will reduce the average age of the Armed forces. It will transform (the Army) to even a more deadly and potent Combat force. Those continuing the path, or for those who wish to pursue a career in this service... will get opportunities to serve a short soldiering stint. #Agniveer,” tweeted the minister.

Violent protest over the Central government’s ‘Agnipath’ scheme for recruitment in armed forces continued across Bihar on Thursday with hundreds of aspirants disrupting rail and road traffic while police fired tear gas shells to disperse them.

On Wednesday also, aspirants staged protests at Muzaffarpur, Begusarai and Buxar districts over the scheme, disrupting road and rail traffic movement.


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