Congress MP Manish Tewari on Monday refused to sign the Opposition's protest letter on the Agnipath recruitment scheme, reported NDTV.
Tiwari, who is a part of the Consultative Committee for Defence in Parliament, had said the Agnipath scheme is a much-needed reform in the right direction.
“I do empathise with youth who have concerns over Agnipath recruitment Process. Reality is India needs a younger armed force with lighter human footprint savvy on technology, equipped with state of art weaponry. Armed forces of Union shouldn’t be an employment guarantee programme,” he had also said in a tweet.
Opposition demands withdrawal or parliamentary scrutiny of Agnipath scheme
In a meeting with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Opposition MPs today raised concerns about the Agnipath scheme.
The Minister was chairing a meeting of the Consultative Committee for Defence in Parliament where 12 MPs from various political parties including four BJP MPs were present.
Some of the members who attended the meeting included Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Saugata Roy from TMC; Supriya Sule from NCP; Rajni Patil, Shakti Singh Gohil and Manish Tewari from the Congress; AD Singh from RJD and Ranjanben Bhatt and Ram Bhai Mokhariya from the BJP.
A detailed presentation was made by the Defence Ministry for the committee members.
"It was a very good meeting," Singh told news agency ANI after the meeting.
Opposition parties express their reservations about the Agnipath scheme
According to ANI, they spoke about "huge unemployment" in the country being the reason for the large number of applications for the scheme.
"The Opposition said that the fact that people have applied in large numbers for the scheme is significant as there is huge unemployment in the country and asked why the government was not addressing it?" sources told ANI.
"The Army is a strategic unit and it is responsible for the security and safety of the country so if a person works in the unit for four years and then leaves, what is the assurance that he or she will not compromise the security of the country. A classic example is what happened to Japanese former PM Shinzo Abe who was shot by ex-military personnel," added the sources.
The sources further quoted the opposition leaders as saying that it has been seen in various scenarios, including in Russia and Ukraine, that a long-serving army is more effective and powerful as it goes through rigorous training and exposure.
"Why should the army be weakened by temporary recruitments?... The opposition told Rajnath Singh that former CDS Bipin Rawat was also in favour of long recruitments. So why is it that the government does not even adhere to the advice given by the nation's first chief of defence staff?" said the sources.
The Opposition also condemned the government for dragging the army into politics. It also asked the government why the personnel from the armed forces were holding press conferences instead of politicians.
(With ANI inputs)