Sunday, June 23, 2024

No rollback, no job to youth involved in protests: Agnipath scheme

Lt. Gen Anil Puri addressing the media.

If a youth has been involved in the ongoing riots, he wouldn’t be a part of the Agnipath scheme for recruitment into armed forces, the military said. 

Thus, an applicant would have to submit a declaration that he was not involved in the riots.

Indi’a tri-services—Army, Air, Navy—announced it on Sunday that added that in case they joined the forces by hiding their involvement in the riots, they would lose their jobs. 

Lt General Anil Puri, additional secretary, Dept of Military Affairs told the press today that a police verification of all the candidates would be done before they joined the forces as Agniveers. 

“Every individual will give a certificate that they were not part of protest or vandalism. Police verification in 100%, no one can join without that.”

He further added if it was found that an FIR had been lodged against the aspirant, he would not be allowed to join. “They (aspirants) will be asked to write as part of the enrolment form that they were not part of the arson, their police verification will be done.”

Lt Gen Puri further added, “there is no place for indiscipline in the Armed Forces. All candidates will have to give a written pledge that they did not indulge in any arson/violence,” he added.

Lt Get Puri said there was no possibility of rollback of the scheme. “Coming to the rollback of the scheme, No. Why should it be rolled back. It is the only progressive step to making the services young. Why is it being made young? Do you know how many casualties happen in high-altitude areas? Then you will understand why we need young recruits.”

He also denied claims that the changes in the scheme were made only after the violent protests, and said that they were already planned.

Pointing out that by 2030, 50% of the population would be below the age of 25, the Department of Military Affairs’ Additional Secretary asked,” Is it right that the defence that protects the country has 32 years as the average age?  We only have one aim– somehow we bring the youth into the system. This was studied in the past two years by the 3 chiefs and Chief of Defence Staff General (Bipin) Rawat. We studied, the foreign countries, and we saw that almost all the nations, firstly, had an average age of 26, 27, and 28. Secondly, they had four to five different ways of recruitment.”

Lt General Anil Puri further added that the Centre will commence with the recruitment of 46,000 Army aspirants to analyse the scheme and to build up infra capacity, and added that in the next 4-5 years, the intake of soldiers will be 50,000- 60,000 and it will increase to 90,000 – 1 lakh subsequently.

The Additional Secretary at the Department of Military Affairs added that an Agniveer will receive compensation of Rs 1 crore if he sacrifices his life in service of the nation. “In case of disability, say one day I am walking up the Tiger Hill and I get shot, or he gets shot, the provisions for both of us will be exactly the same,” he added.

Furthermore, coming to the post-retirement period, Lt Gen Puri assured that there is a plan. “If you think that on June 14, a  scheme is announced and on the same day, we give you in writing what would be the reservations…that is not going to happen. We did not share the scheme with the public, we just told them that this is what is going to happen, so you prepare.”

Agnipath Scheme and the violence

Since the Government of India launched the Agnipath scheme for recruitment in the Indian Armed Forces, several locations in states across India are facing violent protests against the scheme. Multiple railway trains and stations have been vandalized. Person and private properties have been damaged during the violence in several states, including Telangana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and others.

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