Agnipath scheme's myths Vs facts as govt explains amid protests
The Agnipath scheme will see 75 per cent of recruits - to be called 'Agniveers' - retired after a tour of duty of four years. As protests spread on Thursday, government sources released a detailed fact sheet on 'Agnipath'.
Two days after the government unveiled a new military recruitment scheme - 'Agnipath' -protests broke out in several states. In some, like Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, armed forces aspirants staged massive demonstrations, torching trains and vandalising vehicles, as well as ransacking the offices of BJP MLAs (in Bihar). The government has defended the 'Agnipath' scheme - under attack from apsirants and opposition leaders - by stressing that it was in the making for two years and only rolled out after extensive consultations with armed forces personnel. The scheme will see 75 per cent of recruits - to be called 'Agniveers' - retired after a tour of duty of four years. As protests spread on Thursday, government sources released a detailed fact sheet on 'Agnipath'.
Here is a look at a few of the myths busted:
Myth 1: The future of 'Agniveers' - those who enroll under the 'Agnipath' scheme - is insecure
Fact: 'Agniveers' who have been retired after their tour of duty and wish to be entrepreneurs will get financial assistance in the form of a package. They can also apply for a bank loan.
Those wishing to study further will be provided with a certificate declaring that they have passed the Class 12 exam (it is unclear if such certificates will be issued even to those who have not actually passed the exam). They can also take part in a bridging course to assist in further studies.
Those wishing to obtain jobs after completing their term as 'Agniveer' will be given priority in CAPFs and state police forces; the chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand (both BJP-ruled states) assured this today. Plans to provide them jobs in other fields are also in the works.
Myth 2: 'Agniveers' will be a danger to society and may join terrorist organisations
Fact: This has been dismissed as an insult to the ethos and values of the Indian armed forces. The government has said youngsters who wear the uniform for four years would remain committed to the country for the rest of their lives.
"Even now thousands retire from armed forces retire with skills etc., but there have not been any instances of them joining anti-national forces," government sources pointed out.
Myth 3: Opportunities for youth will decrease as a result of 'Agnipath'
Fact: Opportunities for youth to serve in the armed forces will actually increase, the government has maintained. Over the coming years, the recruitment of 'Agniveers' is expected to triple in comparison to the current recruitment in the armed forces.
Myth 4: 21-year-old youth are immature and unreliable for the armed forces
Fact: The government has pointed out that most armies depend on youth."At no point in time will there be more youngsters than experienced people. The present scheme will only bring about a right mix of 50-50 of youngsters and experienced supervisory ranks," sources explained.
Myth 5: The scheme will adversely affect the effectiveness of the armed forces
Fact: The government has said that such short-term recruitment plans exist in most countries and are a tried-and-tested practice for a youthful and agile army. "The numbers of 'Agniveers' to be recruited in the first year will only make up three per cent of the armed forces," sources said.
Also, the performance of 'Agniveers' will be tested before re-induction in the army after four years. This is to ensure the army gets the most competent personnel for supervisory ranks.
Myth 6: No consultation held with former armed forces officers
Fact: Extensive consultations with the serving armed forces officers have been held for the last two years, the government said. It said the plan had been framed by the Department of Military Officers, which staffs military offices. The department itself is a creation of this government. Many former officers have recognised the advantages of the scheme and welcomed it, it added.