Agnipath Scheme

Agnipath Scheme

Why In News?

  • The recent death of 22-year-old Agniveer, deployed at the Siachen Glacier, has put the focus on Agnipath, a contractual scheme for recruitment in the armed forces, and the benefits available under it.

Agnipath Scheme

Regarding Agnipath Scheme:

  • It allows patriotic and motivated youth to serve in the armed forces for a period of four years.
  • The youth joining the army under this scheme will be called Agniveer. Youth will be able to join the army for a short period.
  • Under the new plan, about 45,000 to 50,000 soldiers would be recruited annually, and most would leave the service in just four years.
  • However, after four years, only 25% of the batch will be recruited back to their respective services, for a period of 15 years.

Reason for Bringing Agnipath Scheme:

  • Ensuring a youth profile for the armed forces,
  • Reducing the average age of serving soldiers,
  • The scheme will help transform the armed forces into a “tech-savvy and modern fighting force”,
  • Empowered civil society,
  • This will ensure availability of disciplined and skilled youth from diverse backgrounds in civil society after retirement at the end of four years,
  • To reduce rising defense pension bills,

Objective of Agnipath Scheme:

  • The main objective of the plan is to make the Army a future-ready fighting force, capable of meeting multiple challenges in all areas of conflict.
  • The objective of this scheme is to strengthen national security and provide opportunity to the youth to serve in the armed forces.
  • To cut rising wage and pension bills.
  • This will help in the rehabilitation of soldiers leaving service after four years. There will be a “whole of government” approach, and they will be provided with skills certificates and bridge courses. Emphasis will be laid on preparing entrepreneurs.

Criticism of Agnipath Scheme:

  • The ‘Agnipath’ scheme opens the way for recruitment of about 45,000 soldiers in the Army, Navy and Air Force in the first year, but on short-term contracts of four years. After completion of the contract, 25% of them will be retained and the rest will leave the army.
  • Our four years of service would mean that after that other jobs would be out of our reach and we would be left behind our peers.
  • In the Agnipath scheme, soldiers may be reluctant to take risks, as they know that they have been called to serve only for a short period. They may be reluctant to risk or suffer physical harm in the line of duty.
  • They do not get any pension benefit. For most people, finding a second job is necessary to support themselves and their families.

Source – The Hindu

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