Agnipath scheme: Congress submits memoranda to President Ram Nath Kovind, raises five objections

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Monday, June 20, 2022, 06:35 PM IST
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A delegation of senior Congress leaders including Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday met President Ram Nath Kovind and discussed the issue of the Agnipath scheme. A 7-member delegation of the party marched to the Rashtrapati Bhawan and submitted 2 memoranda. Saying that the

In the memorandum, Congress the delegation highlighted five major onjections against the Agnipath scheme, take a look below:

1. Before the announcement of a wholesale drastic change in the Armed Forces recruitment policy, the government did not adopt wide-ranging consultations. Neither was the scheme deliberated upon in the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, nor were the various stakeholders, including political parties consulted. There is no indication that the alternatives suggested by many experts were even considered. At worst, it should have been tested as a pilot scheme before complete adoption.

2. The extremely short period of training (6 months) and the unusually short period of service (42 months) may have negative consequences on quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of the Armed Forces. It makes a mockery of training; inducts into the defence forces an ill-trained and ill-motivated soldier; and discharges a young, disappointed, and unhappy ex-soldier into the society.

3. The age of recruitment-17 to 21 years (which has been given a one-time exemption after protests)-is untenable as a large section of our aspiring youth will be excluded from serving in the Armed Forces.

4. The stated objective of savings on the pension bill has not been established beyond doubt. On the other hand, several distinguished defence officers have pointed out that a fighting soldier must take pride in his unit; must be willing to lay down his life for his country and comrades; must not be risk averse; and must be capable of exhibiting leadership. They fear that each one of these objectives will be in jeopardy under the scheme.

5. The announcements by a whole range of Ministries and PSUs on post discharge opportunities appear to be after-thoughts and reeks of adhocism of the worst kind. They confirm the conclusion of many in the country that the scheme was poorly conceived and hastily drawn up.

After the meeting, Kharge said that the delegation told the President that the scheme was neither discussed with any committee nor was presented in Parliament.

"We said that this is a violation of our democratic rights," Kharge said

"The President has been asked to take this into consideration," he added.

"We've told the President that it was neither discussed with any committee nor was presented in Parliament, we said that this is a violation of our democratic rights. President has been asked to take this into consideration," Kharge was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

The delegation also raised the issue of alleged ill-treatment of party MPs by police during their protest against the ED questioning of former party chief Rahul Gandhi.

The Congress delegation comprised Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, senior leaders P Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh and K C Venugopal.

The leaders along with party MPs earlier took out a solidarity march from Parliament House to Vijay chowk, where they were stopped by the Delhi Police.

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