Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday hit out at the Centre over its ‘Agnipath’ military recruitment scheme and said it was wrong to play with the lives and ambitions of the country’s youth.
Thackeray also criticised the Centre’s announcement of 10% reservation for trained Agneeveers saying that it was nothing short of practicing use and throw and hire and fire policies.
‘’There has to be a clear-cut policy and announcements like Agneepath should not be meant merely for getting votes. Thackeray also took on the BJP led government over demonetisation and farm laws saying why to give promises which cannot be fulfilled," he added.
Addressing Shiv Sena MLAs and senior leaders on the occasion of the party’s 56th foundation day, Thackeray said if the youth do not have jobs, there is no use of speaking only about Lord Ram.
He said farmers were the first to take to the streets against some the of the Centre’s agri laws .
Why give names like ‘Agniveer’ and ‘Agnipath’ to schemes which have no meaning? What will the youth aged 17 to 21 years get after four years? he asked.
“Having soldiers on contract is dangerous, and playing with the ambitions and lives of youth is wrong. There is no use of only speaking about Lord Ram, if the youth do not have jobs,” the Sena president said.
He said Maharashtra was calm, despite violent protests in some parts of the country against the ‘Agnipath’ scheme.
“Today may be my day, tomorrow some one else will emerge as a better alternative,” he added.
The Centre had on Tuesday announced the scheme, saying youth between the ages of 17 and-a-half and 21 years would be inducted for a four-year tenure in the armed forces, while 25 per cent of them will be subsequently inducted for regular service.
The youths to be recruited under the new scheme would be called ‘Agniveer’.
Later, in an attempt to pacify the protesters, the government on Thursday increased the upper age limit for recruitment under the ‘Agnipath’ scheme to 23 years from 21 for the year 2022.
As the protests intensified in various parts of the country, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday approved a proposal to reserve 10 per cent of the jobs in various organisations under the ministry for recruits under the ‘Agnipath’ scheme if they meet the requisite eligibility criteria.
(With inputs from agencies)