- The Recruits will be serving for a period of 4 years after which only 25% of the recruits will be retained.
- Individuals in the age bracket of 17.5 to 23 years can apply for this scheme.
- They will be given good pay and a lump sum amount at the end of their training. However, they will have no pension benefits or job security after they re-enter society.
Recently, the Indian Army has introduced a scheme called Agneepath Scheme which will allow the youth of India to become a part of the Indian Armed Forces. The Cabinet Committee on Security had taken a historic decision on May 14, 2022, to approve the experimental scheme.
The Agneepath Scheme is a recruitment process which has been launched by the central government, wherein the selected individuals will be enrolled as Agniveers. The Agneepath recruitment scheme is a transformative initiative that will provide a youthful profile to the armed forces.This will be for a period of four years in the Indian Armed Forces. The Armed Forces will be recruiting 46,000 Agniveers this year through this scheme, which will include women as well.
During these 4 years, they will be trained by armed forces in the skills required.
On completion of the four-year period, Agniveers will re-enter society as a disciplined, dynamic, motivated, and skilled workforce for employment in other sectors to pursue their career in the job of their choosing.
CRITERIA OF THE SCHEME
The youth which falls in the age group of 17.5 years to 23 years can apply under this scheme. They must bestow patriotism, teamwork, and loyalty towards the country. They must favor enhanced physical fitness and should be available to boost national security in times of external threats as well as natural disasters.
The opportunity will be available only for personnel below office ranks that is for those who do not join the forces as commissioned officers. They will have a good pay package and an exit retirement package after 4 years of service. 25% of Agniveers will be retained and get reservation on different state government jobs such as Assam Rifles, State Police and CPAF.
OBJECTIVES OF THE SCHEME
The broad objectives of the Agneepath Scheme are-
- To enhance the youthful profile of the Armed Forces so that they are always at their fighting best with increased risk-taking ability.
- To imbibe the Armed Forces ethos, fortitude, commitment, and teamwork in the youth.
- To provide abilities and qualities such as discipline, motivation, dynamism, and work skills so that youth remain as an asset for the country.
- To provide the youth with an opportunity to serve the Nation in uniform for a short period of time.
- To attract youth talent among the society to effectively use and exploit emerging modern technologies with enhanced technical thresholds of intake while leveraging technical institutions of the country.
BENEFITS OF THE AGNEEPATH SCHEME
- The scheme opens the way for the recruitment of about 46,000 soldiers into the Army, Navy, and Air Force in the first year.
- Those who wish to study further will get a certificate equivalent to Class 12. For further studies, the government will also arrange for bridging courses.
- The Agneepath retirees will get rupees 12 lakh to start their new life or utilize the funds for further education.
- Those who want to be entrepreneurs will get help from the government securing business loans.
- They will get priority in CAPF, Assam Rifles and the police recruitment if they choose such kind of a career.
- Security, Engineering as well as IT sectors will also give priority to the retired Agniveers.
- 25% of the staff will be retained after they complete 4 years of service which means lakhs of candidates will ultimately get permanent jobs.
- The Agniveers that will not be retained will get hands-on experience in serving the armed forces. They will become more disciplined and skilled by the end of their service. these individuals will also have the financial backing of Rs 12 Lakhs – using which they can start their own business or utilize the funds for further education.
CONCERNS OF AGNEEPATH SCHEME
- No Pension Benefit: Those hired under this scheme will be given a one-time lump sum of about 11 lakh when they end their four-year tenure. However, they will not receive any pension benefits. For most Agniveers, a second job will be essential to support themselves and their families.
- Training may remain unutilized: The Indian Forces will lose experienced soldiers. The jawans that would be joining the Army, Navy and Air Force will be given technical training so that they are able to support the ongoing operations. However, most of these men and women will leave after four years which could create a void in the Forces.
- Only 25% of the candidates will be made permanent after the training period, while 75% of the candidates will be let go.
- The selected candidates under this scheme will be recruited for the non-commissioned ranks only such as Sepoy, Naik, and Lance Naik.
- This scheme is only available for ages 17.5 to 23 years, which are the prime years for education.
- There is lack of job security as the candidates will again become unemployed after 4 years of service.
PROTESTS AGAINST THE AGNEEPATH SCHEME
The Centre observed protests by the youth in some parts of the country. One of the main reasons for these protests were identified to be flow of misinformation throughout social media. This also resulted in suspension of internet services as well as the government trying to clear out information regarding the scheme. The primary concern among the youth is the demobilization of 75% of the recruits. They will be ineligible for pensions and have an uncertain future as they would be limited to work for four years. The scheme is being criticized for failing to provide permanent jobs or healthcare benefits after they retire.
It has both benefits and concerns, however, only time will tell whether the scheme will be a worthwhile experiment or not. It might reduce the revenue expenditure in the defense budget, but, if the scheme backfires the cost the nation may have to pay will be far greater.