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Agniveers Will Have A Host of Options after Agnipath Stint, Concerns Raised Misplaced: Govt Sources

By: Aman Sharma

News18.com

Last Updated: June 16, 2022, 15:27 IST

Government officials also say that extensive consultations have been done with serving armed forces officers for the last two years on the Agnipath scheme. (Representational pic/AP)

Government officials also say that extensive consultations have been done with serving armed forces officers for the last two years on the Agnipath scheme. (Representational pic/AP)

Officials said to News18 that any worries of Agniveers becoming a danger to society after their four-year Agnipath spell are an insult to the ethos and values of the Indian armed forces

Entrepreneurship, further studies, priority in other jobs — Agniveers will have a multitude of options after completing their four-year-long stint with the armed forces, government officials said on Thursday after concerns expressed by some over the financial security of those inducted in the Agnipath scheme.

“Those wishing to be entrepreneurs — they will get a financial package and bank loan scheme. Those wishing to study further will be given a class 12 equivalent certificate and bridging course for further studies. Those wishing to obtain jobs will be given priority in CAPFs and state police. Several avenues are also being opened up for them in other sectors,” a senior government official explained.

The official also said that opportunities for youths to serve in the armed forces will increase and, in the coming years, induction of Agniveers will be “around triple” of the current recruitment in the military. News18 reported on Thursday that the government is considering progressively increasing the recruiting of Agniveers to 59,000 per year over the next four years.

No change was being made to the regimental system, added the official, and it will get further accentuated because the best of Agniveers will be selected, which will boost the cohesiveness of the units.

Some concerns have also been expressed that Agniveers will be a danger to society after four years of service and may join terrorist ranks. “This is an insult to the ethos and values of the Indian armed forces. Youngsters who have worn the uniform for four years will remain committed to the country for the rest of their lives. Even now thousands retire from armed forces with skills but there have not been any instances of them joining anti-national forces,” the official said.

Officials also counter the point raised by some that the Agnipath scheme will harm the effectiveness of the armed forces, explaining that such a short-term enlistment system exists in most countries and, hence, is already tested out and considered best practice for a youthful and agile army.

“The numbers of Agniveers to be recruited in the first year would only make up 3% of the armed forces. Additionally, the performance of the Agniveers will be tested before re-induction in the army after four years. Hence, the army will get the tried and tested personnel for supervisory ranks,” the official said.

Officials also said that most armies across the world depend upon their youths and it is wrong on part of some to say that 21-year-olds are immature and unreliable for this.

“At no point in time will there be more youngsters than experienced people. The present scheme will only bring about a right mix of 50%-50%, slowly in a very long run, of youngsters and experienced supervisory ranks,” the official explained.

Government officials also say that extensive consultations have been done with serving armed forces officers for the last two years on the Agnipath scheme. “The proposal has been framed by the Department of Military Officers staffed by military officers. The department itself is a creation of this government. Many former officers have recognised the advantages of the scheme and welcomed it,” the official said.

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first published:June 16, 2022, 15:24 IST
last updated:June 16, 2022, 15:27 IST