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PREJUDGING THE ‘AGNIPATH SCHEME’

Author: Jatin Rana, III year of B.A.,LL.B(Hons.) From Law College Dehradun.


Introduction

Military is considered as the most important and powerful organ of the country. While considering the potentiality of any country, its army is always taken at the priority. It is the protector and saviour of the citizens from any external harm and sometimes from internal aggressions also. Indian youth have craze of being armed officer same like of being an engineer or doctor. The special thing of joining armed forces is that one become a part of it even after becoming a doctor or engineer by passing certain exams.


Here the ministry of defence plays a vital role in the recruitment of Indian army. It examines the vacancy in all three defences and lays down the procedure of filing it. The last two years (2020 &2021) were greatly affected by the corona pandemic. In these two years, no exams were held for the recruitment of soldiers in Indian defence. This circumstantial malfunctioning raised the question of two years spoiled of the people wiling two join Indian army.


People raised their voices through letters to ministries and social media to consider the two years which were spoiled due to the pandemic. Government of India called for the Generals of Indian Armed Forces and Indian defence minister to discuss on the gurgling issue of the recruitment of Indian armed forces. The discussion in last concluded with the ‘Agnipath Scheme’.



What is ‘Agnipath Scheme’?

On 14th of June 2022, the union cabinet approved Agnipath scheme which focuses on the willingness and wish of the youth to join Indian Armed Forces.


It provides an opportunity to the Indian youth to show their bravery, courage and love for their motherland by joining Armed Forces. It opens an entry for youth to join defence for the term of four years. The person selected under the scheme will be known as ‘Agniveer’. Here, four years cannot be said as the only time period that a person can serve for his country. One can further apply for the permanent recruitment in defence by which he may serve for further 15 years which is the minimum time period.


As we all know that due to pandemic, two precious years of the people were spoiled who were willing to join armed forces during the pandemic. To sort out this issue, the Government of India increased the upper age limit to 23 years only for the recruitment of 2022. According to Agnipath Scheme, the age of selection is 17.5 years to 21 years which will be applicable after the present recruitment of 2022.


This scheme will not affect the selection of the defence officers because it is only for the selection of the soldiers below the officer rank.


This scheme can be termed as the starting track of the defence system of India. For serving after 4 years of tenure, one must work at its best. His overall performance of 4 years will show the possibility of his selection for further serving in Indian Armed Force. If he is not selected, he will be given preference in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and State Police.


While serving under the scheme, the soldier will get approx. 4.76 lacs (per annum) as a salary from 1st year which will increase up to approx. 6.92 lacs (per annum) in the 4th year. Every month 30% of the salary of the Agniveers will be contributed towards the Seva Nidhi Scheme and government will also submit the same amount every month which will be awarded back as total sum of 11.71 lakh rupees to the Agniveers after their four years of service.


Government of India has also laid down the procedure to compensate soldiers in case of their disability or their family in case of their death. In case of death of the soldier, life insurance cover of 48 lacs, Ex Gratia of 44 lacs and the salary of the soldier will also be given to his family for the time remaining out of the 4 years tenure. In case of disability, three degrees of disability are laid down according to which the compensation will be awarded. If the soldier is,

  • 50% disabled, the amount of 15 lacs will be given.

  • 75% disabled, the amount of 25 lacs will be given.

  • 100% disabled, the amount of 44 lacs will be given.

This ex-gratia amount will be awarded for one time and the extent of the disability will be given by the medical authorities fixed by the government.



Benefits of ‘Agnipath Scheme’.

  • It will provide opportunity to join defence for both males and females.

  • After four years of service, Agniveers will be given credits for their further education.

  • If Agniveer wants to become an entrepreneur, loan will be granted to him.

  • 25% of the Agniveers will be selected for further service of minimum 15 years after 4 years of tenure.

  • In case any Agniveer is not selected for further service tenure, he will be given preference in CAPFs and state police.

  • To be selected for further tenure, Agniveers will do their best which will increase the efficiency on Indian defence system.

  • Will empower the defence system because the mental and physical capability of youth is excellent.

  • Will provide opportunity to large number of people.

  • Youth will gain experience of defence system of the country.

  • The age limit for the selection in Agnipath scheme is 17.5 years to 21 years after which the Agniveer will be retired at the age between 21.5-25 years. At the age of 21 years to 25 years, retired Agniveer can move towards government jobs or towards private sector. His efficiency will be inevitable in the jobs he will do after 4-year service as Agniveer.



Why are people criticizing the Agnipath scheme?

Many Indian states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are majorly affected by violence against the scheme. Youth of India is not accepting the scheme and are adopting wrong ways to protest the scheme. At one side they want to serve their motherland with the feeling of patriotism and at the same time they are spoiling the public property by firing buses, trains, etc. Lets examine the reasons of protesting the scheme.

  • Selection of 25% of Agniveers for permanent cadre.

Youth is greatly disappointed with the selection of only 25% of Agniveers for permanent cadre. They are worrying for the 75% of the Agniveers which will not be selected.


Here, they should understand that instead of worrying for 75% of Agniveers, they should think and work on themselves to be selected for permanent cadre and be among those 25% of Agniveers.

The selection of 25% of Agniveers will create competition among Agniveers which will result in the efficacy of each veer. Even the selected 25% will be the best Agniveers which will strengthen the Indian Armed Forces. Agniveers who will not be selected will get preference in CAPFs and state police.

  • No pension after 4 years of service.

Half of the youth who is protesting is not even aware of full scheme of Agnipath. They are protesting for absence of pension scheme after serving defence for 4 years under Agnipath scheme.


Armed Force is a volunteer submission on oneself to serve motherland and show bravery and love towards the welfare and protection of the country from any external or internal aggressions.

Late General Bipin Rawat who served as first Chief of Defence Staff of Indian Armed Forces also said, “one should not join defence for any type of economic reason because it is not suitable place for it. It is a place only to show love and affection towards the country and one must be physically and mentally strong to face hurdles after joining defence.”

Government of India has planned that each Agniveer will be awarded with 11.71 lacs after 4 years. They will also get ease in applying for loan for growing any business after their service. A procedure of compensation is also laid down in the scheme in case of death or disability of the Agniveer. In case of death of the Agniveer, his salary of the remaining time period out of 4 years and compensation will be given to the family of the Agniveer.

  • Age relaxation.

Due to pandemic, two years of the people who were willing to join defence during pandemic were spoiled. People were protesting for relaxation in the upper age limit in the selection of the Indian armed Forces.


Government of India has increased the upper age limit from 21 years to 23 years only for current selection of 2022. According to the Agnipath Scheme, the age for selection is between 17.5-21 years which will be applicable after selection of 2022.



Countries already having a likewise shadow of Agnipath scheme

Agnipath scheme is not newly made or adopted. Many countries have already adopted this scheme titled by different names. The adoption of the scheme by different countries also depicts the efficacy of the scheme.

Countries like China, America, Israel and Russia are already having short term service in defence. China, Russia, and Israel impose obligation to serve in defence for a fixed period after which they will be awarded perks and credits.


Some countries also have voluntary option of joining defence under short term service. These all country has fixed period of service tenure after which the pension is awarded to the soldiers. This tenure is always greater than the tenure of the short-term service.


Conclusion

Agnipath scheme is something which will increase the efficacy of Indian Armed Forces and will provide various opportunities to the youth of India. Each Agniveer will work at its best to get themselves selected as the permanent cadre after 4 years of service under the Agnipath scheme. People protesting against the scheme are not fully aware of the scheme and its benefits over the country. Agnipath scheme is the primary window for the youth to serve for the country and to make his stand in the society as the Agniveer.