Agnipath protests: Centre offers sops to dispel misgivings

The Centre has said it will look into any grievance about the recruitment scheme "with an open mind"

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Saturday, June 18, 2022, 11:11 PM IST
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Kolkata: Police personnel try to snatch a burning effigy from a protester during a protest against the Agnipath scheme, in Kolkata, Saturday, June 18, 2022. | (PTI Photo)

NEW DELHI: Going into damage-control mode and not wanting a replay of the protracted farmers’ agitation, the government has announced several new concessions to quell the unrest over the Agniveer military recruitment scheme.

To begin with, the defence ministry has decided to dispel the misgivings over the uncertain future of the recruits who are cycled out by promising them 10 per cent job quota in the Coast Guard and in all the 16 Defence PSUs.

Likewise, the Home Ministry will carve out for the ‘retired’ Agniveers 10 per cent vacancies in the Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles.

"The MHA has also decided to give 3 years age relaxation beyond the prescribed upper age limit to the new recruits in Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles," the ministry tweeted. Further, for the first batch of Agniveer, the age relaxation will be for five years beyond the prescribed upper age limit. The Indian Navy, in turn, will create opportunities in merchant navy.

Even as it held out these assurances, the Centre said it will look into any grievance about the recruitment scheme "with an open mind.’’

Earlier, the age limit for the Agnipath scheme was raised from 21 to 23 as a one-time relaxation in view of the two-year break in recruitment because of Covid. Several state governments have said they will give preference to Agniveers in police recruitment. The National Institute of Open Schooling will launch customized courses for 10th-pass ‘retired’ recruits and help them obtain 12th-pass certificate. This is because their stint in the armed forced would have meant a washout of their academic pursuits.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation said it is looking forward to inducting highly skilled, disciplined, and motivated recruits into its various services. The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has also announced six service avenues for smooth transition of Agniveers, after their stint with the Indian Navy.

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