Written by Manya Pandey, a first-year undergraduate student
On 14th June 2022, the government rolled out a new scheme for recruitment in defence forces
Titled “Agnipath”, the scheme aims to bring people from all parts of the nation into the Indian defence services.
What is the Agnipath scheme?
It is a pan India merit-based recruitment scheme. Inviting soldiers, sailors and airmen into the Indian Armed forces on a short-term contractual basis of four years
The ones who become a part of this will be called Agniveers, meaning the ‘inferno warriors’.
Under the scheme, 45,000 to 50,000 Agniveers will be recruited annually. Out of which 75 per cent of cadets will be released after four years and only the most prolific 25 per cent will be absorbed into the battalion for the next 15 years.
Young me between 17.5- 21 years of age are eligible for enrolment in the armed personnel on the rank below an officer. The scheme aims to enhance the youthful profile of the forces.
The scheme is starting fresh with the army recruitments this year, cancelling all the pre-existing infrastructures. To compensate for this abrupt turn of events, the government has increased the upper age limit to 23 years in the scheme, only for 2022.
- Men and women (progressively based on service requirements ), between 17.5- 21 years of age
- Need to have passed 10th, 12th or an equivalent degree from a recognised board
- The medical and fitness standards are required as per the already existing norms
What about their studies?
For the High School pass-out Agniveers, the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), has brought forth a special programme to provide Agniveers with a 12th class passing Certificate by developing customized courses, relevant to their area of service. This certificate will be recognised for both employment and higher education purposes in the entire country.
When will it start?
The enrollment will be done via rallies twice a year. The first drive of recruitment is supposed to begin within 90 days from June 14, 2022. The recruitment process will deploy the pre-existing infrastructure.
The probationers will be evaluated on a written test and a physical examination. The application form will be released online via defence websites and government portals.
How will it work?
Post recruitment, the probationers will be trained for six months in target acquisition and weapon sub systems like assault rifles and machine pistols in proper uniforms equipped with sensory systems tactical gloves etc.
The government has established a “Seva Nidhi package” for Agniveers wherein they’ll receive 30k a month in their first year, increasing up to 33, 36.5 and 40k in the consecutive years.
Some additional benefits include a life insurance coverage worth48 lakhs rupees for four years and exemption from income taxes.
What about the pension?
According to the stipend structure, the Agniveers will receive 11. 71 lakhs lump sum upon exit after four years of service. This provision is taken out of the ‘Agniveer Corpus Fund”, To maintain this fund, the Agniveers are required to deposit 30 per cent of their monthly income regularly which adds up to 5.02 lakhs at the end of the tenure. The other fifty per cent of the amount is contributed by the government of India after adding up the taxes.
What about the martyrs killed in action?
The government will compensate with a ‘liberal death package’ wherein the family of the fallen heroes shall receive a one-time grant worth 1 crore, along with the payment of the unserved tenure.
In case a soldier is disabled in combat the government has assured a “disability package” depending on the degree of the damage. For a disability percentage for level 100, the compensation is 44lakhss reduced to 25 and 15 lakh rupees respectively for 75 and 25 per cent disability.
How will it benefit the armed forces?
The scheme will provide tech-savvy adaptable youth to the defence forces of the nation. It aims to utilise the Indian demographic to lower the average age bar in the armed forces. Currently, the average age in the troops is 32 while the average stands at 29 years for the Indian population. Within 6-7 years of deployment of the Agnipath scheme, the average age bar in the military is expected to drop to 24-26 years of age.
The scheme will also help the government treasuries check the rising salary and pension bill of the armed forces. According to Admiral R Hari Kumar, the money thus saved can be utilised to deck up the forces with the much-needed next-gen technology.
It is a far-sighted initiative that would let the defence forces procure combat-ready citizens in case of a war alert in the near future.
Benefits to people
- A society with trained, robust, tamed and woke youth with military ethos.
- The training for four years will later add disciplined and quality workforce into workplaces nationwide.
Retired ‘Agniveers’ are promised priority by the union ministry for recruitment in CAPFs (Central Armed Police Forces) and Assam Rifles, the oldest branch of Indian Army.