Srinagar: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday vouched for the Central government's decision to approve the 'Agnipath' scheme and said that it gives a golden opportunity to the youth to join the defence system and serve the country.
On June 14, the Union Cabinet approved the recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the Armed Forces wherein those selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers. Agnipath allows patriotic and motivated youth to serve in the Armed Forces for a period of four years.
In an exclusive conversation with ANI, Rajnath Singh said, "The Agnipath scheme by the Central government gives a golden opportunity to the youth of the country to join the defence system and serve the country. 'I am Agniveer' with being their unique identity with freshness."
"Due to a snag in the recruitment process in the army for two years, many youths did not get the opportunity to join the army. This is a fact. That is why, keeping in mind the future of the youth and showing sensitivity towards them, with the approval of the Prime Minister, the government has decided that this time the age limit for the recruitment of Agniveers should be increased from 21 to 23 years," he said.
"This one-time relaxation has been given by the government. This will automatically increase the eligibility of many young people to become Agniveers. The recruitment process is going to start in a few days. I appeal to all the youth to prepare for joining the army and take full advantage of it," he said.
Notably, Singh is in Jammu and Kashmir since yesterday for a two-day visit to the Union Territory.
Agnipath Scheme was recently launched by the government in an effort to bring a change in the recruitment process of the Armed Forces. With the new military recruitment scheme facing a backlash by Opposition, the Centre has decided to bring a change in the upper age limit for recruiting Agniveers. Granting a one-time waiver, the Centre on June 16, 2022, announced that the Agniveer upper age limit for recruitments via Agnipath Scheme has been extended to 23 years from 21 years.
The Ministry of Defence, in its statement on Tuesday, said that the Agnipath scheme has been designed to enable a youthful profile of the Armed Forces. It will provide an opportunity to the youth who may be keen to don the uniform by attracting young talent from the society who are more in tune with contemporary technological trends and plough back skilled, disciplined and motivated manpower into the society.
As for the Armed Forces, it will enhance the youthful profile of the Armed Forces and provide a fresh lease of 'Josh' and 'Jazba' whilst at the same time bringing about a transformational shift towards a more tech-savvy Armed Forces - which is indeed the need of the hour.
It is envisaged that the average age profile of the Indian Armed forces would come down by about 4-5 years by the implementation of this scheme. The nation stands to immensely benefit from the infusion of highly inspired youth with a deeper understanding of self-discipline, diligence and focus who would be adequately skilled and will be able to contribute in other sectors.
The dividends of short military service to the nation, society and the youth of the nation are immense. This includes the inculcation of patriotism, teamwork, enhancement of physical fitness, ingrained loyalty for the country and availability of trained personnel to boost national security in times of external threats, internal threats and natural disasters.
This is a major defence policy reform introduced by the Government to usher in a new era in the Human Resource policy of the three Services. The policy, which comes into immediate effect, will hereafter govern the enrolment for the three services.