6 key takeaways from top military brass’ briefing on Agnipath scheme

From recruitments to compensation, senior officials explain new recruitment scheme

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Sunday, June 19, 2022, 05:36 PM IST
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L-R) Adjutant General of the Indian Army Lt. General C.B. Ponnappa, Department of Military Affairs Additional Secretary Lt. General Anil Puri, Indian Navys Chief of Personnel Vice Admiral Dinesh K. Tripathi and Air Officer-in-Charge Personnel Air Marshal Suraj Kumar Jha during a press conference regarding the Central governments Agnipath scheme, at South Block, Ministry of Defence, in New Delhi, Sunday, June 19, 2022. | -

Senior armed forces personnel on Sunday held a press conference to explain the government Agnipath scheme, which has been meet with protests and violence in several states.

Here are the key points they made:

Over one lakh recruitments

Recruitment of soldiers will increase to over one lakh in the future under the Agnipath scheme, Additional Secretary Lt Gen Anil Puri, Department of Military Affairs (DMA), said.

He said that the Centre will start with the recruitment of 46,000 army aspirants to 'analyse' the scheme.

“In next four-five years, our intake [of soldiers] will be 50,000-60,000 & will increase to 90,000-1 lakh subsequently. We've started small at 46,000 to analyse the scheme… and to build up infra capacity,” he said.

“Our intake of ‘Agniveers’ will go up to 1.25 lakh in near future and will not remain at 46,000, which is the present figure.”

Rs1 crore compensation

Gen Puri said families of Agniveers will get compensation of Rs1 crore if they died in the line of duty.

Reducing the age profile

“We want a mix of josh and hosh and that is why we wanted to reduce the age profile. The average age is 32 years at present and we want to reduce it as per the recommendations of the Kargil review committee and Arun Singh committee report,” Gen Puri said. He said around 17,600 people are taking premature retirement from the three services every year. “No one ever tried to ask them what they will do after retirement,” he stated.

Allowance

Gen Puri said Agniveers would get the same allowance in areas like Siachen and other areas which are applicable to the regular soldiers serving at present. “There will be no discrimination against them in service conditions,” he added.

“This reform was long pending. We want to bring youthfulness and experience with this reform. Today, a large number of jawan are in their 30s and officers are getting command much later than in the past,” he added.

Pledge

Those applying for the recruitment scheme would have to give an undertaking that they were not part of any violent protest or incident of arson that have broken out across the country, Gen Puri said.

"All Agniveers will have to give a pledge that he/she never took part in any arson, protest."

Stressing that a police verification of all applicants will be carried out before they are considered for selection as 'Agniveers', he said, "We had not anticipated the recent violence over this scheme. There is no place for indiscipline in the Armed Forces. If there is any FIR against any candidate they cannot be a part of Agniveers."

No concessions

Gen Puri also said the Centre did not give concessions in the ‘Agnipath scheme because of protests and arson, but that those were already in the works. He said the Agnipath planners did not anticipate the protests because the armed forces stand for discipline and only disciplined applicants join the former.

The top officer said the COVID-19 pandemic and the long lockdown allowed the planners to finally make the move to the 'Agnipath' scheme. “There could have been no better time to implement the Agnipath scheme. This was the least painful time [for the switch],” he said.

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