Agnipath, new recruitment plan for the armed forces, unveiled, the government says “historic”

The plan was announced by the heads of the three services

New Delhi:
The center today unveiled the Agnipath scheme, a radical recruiting scheme for the armed forces aimed at reducing salary and pension bills and freeing up funds for the urgent purchase of weapons.

Here are the top 10 points of this big move:

  1. Announcing the decision, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said it was a “historic” decision. The heads of the three services – Army, Navy and Air Force – were present for the launch.

  2. Under this program, approximately 45,000 people between the ages of 17.5 and 21 will be inducted into the services for a four-year term. Recruitments will begin within the next 90 days and the first batch will be ready by July 2023.

  3. Those selected for the program will be known as Agniveers. The selection will be done through a centralized online system, the government said. Educational qualification for Agniveers will be the same as the criteria for regular positions in the force.

  4. Women will also be inducted under the Agnipath program, Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar said. Army Chief General Manoj Pande said Agniveers will be fully assimilated and integrated into the services.

  5. This four-year term will include six months of training. During this period, they will receive a monthly salary of between Rs 30,000 and 40,000 plus allowances. They will also be entitled to medical and insurance benefits.

  6. After four years, only 25% of these soldiers will be retained and they will join the regular cadre and continue to serve for 15 years in non-commissioned ranks.

  7. The rest will leave the services with a package between Rs 11 lakh – Rs 12 lakh, but they will not be eligible for retirement benefits. The forces have announced that provision has been made for loss of life or disability due to injury in service.

  8. The scheme, if successful, will drastically reduce the annual revenue and pension bill, which accounts for half of the annual defense budget of Rs 5.2 lakh crore.

  9. The government says the program will improve the “youthful profile” of the forces and also lead to a transformational shift towards a more tech-savvy fighting force.

  10. The program has drawn criticism from some quarters, with critics saying it will impact the fighting spirit and professionalism of the forces. They raised concerns that the four-year term could make soldiers risk averse.