Agnipath protests: Congress MP KC Venugopal urges to convene urgent meeting of Standing Committee on Defence

Protests have erupted in several states since Wednesday against the scheme to recruit jawans for a four-year-period followed by compulsory retirement for most without gratuity and pension benefits

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Friday, June 17, 2022, 06:35 PM IST
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Agnipath protests: Congress MP KC Venugopal urges to convene urgent meeting of Standing Committee on Defence |

Congress MP KC Venugopal on Friday urged the Centre to convene an urgent meeting of the Standing Committee on Defence at the earliest to discuss and deliberate upon the Agnipath defence recruitment scheme in detail. He also requested to invite all major stakeholders and defence experts for their opinion and input on the same.

This comes in the wake of protests against the Agnipath scheme that raged through several states for the third day today with trains torched, public property vandalised and many thousands blocking tracks and highways.

In a letter to Jual Oram, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Defence, Venugopal wrote, "As you are aware, violent protests are continuing across the country over the recently announced Agniveer recruitment scheme by the Central Government. There is widespread anger among young with regard to this scheme, particularly with its temporary nature, lack of pension and health care benefits."

"Significantly it is also pointed out that the scheme carries multiple risks including the subversion of the long-standing traditions of the armed forces. There is also wide apprehension that the soldiers recruited under this scheme may lack required training in the proposed short span of six months. For all obvious reasons, it is evident that the scheme is poorly conceived and hastily drawn up without any wide consultations with stakeholders," he added.

Meanwhile, the Congress has demanded an immediate rollback of the Agnipath scheme, saying it is neither in the interest of the country nor its security.

The party's Rajya Sabha MP Deepinder Singh Hooda said the scheme should be taken back immediately and a three-year age relaxation be announced for youths who could not join the armed forces due to delays in recruitment.

"The government should immediately take back the Agnipath scheme. It is neither in favour of national security nor national interests and certainly not in favour of the country's youth," he told reporters at a press conference.

"We demand an age relaxation of three years as there has been no recruitment for the last three years. Anything less than three years is not acceptable," Hooda said.

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