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Centre announces age relaxation, 10% quota in CAPFs, Assam Rifles for Agniveers

Updated on Jun 18, 2022 10:28 AM IST

Union home minister Amit Shah said that the home ministry has decided to give 3 years’ age relaxation beyond the prescribed upper age limit to Agniveers for recruitment in the paramilitary forces and Assam Rifles. For the first batch, the age relaxation will be for 5 years

Union home minister Amit Shah said that the Centre’s decision to increase the age limit for Agniveers will benefit a large number of youngsters in the country (File Photo/ANI)
ByNeeraj Chauhan

The Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) has decided to reserve 10% vacancies in the central paramilitary forces and the Assam Rifles for ‘Agniveers’ after their four years of service in the armed forces, Union home minister Amit Shah said on Saturday.

The home ministry has also decided to give three years’ age relaxation beyond the prescribed upper age limit to Agniveers for recruitment in the paramilitary forces and Assam Rifles. For the first batch of Agniveers, the age relaxation will be for five years beyond the prescribed upper age limit, Aimt Shah said on his Twitter account.

The decision to reserve 10% seats in paramilitary forces or CAPFs (Central Armed Police Forces) and the Assam Rifles will somewhat give assurance of ‘permanent job’ to the youngsters, who have been violently protesting against the ‘Agnipath’ scheme across the country for the past two days, an official familiar with the development said.

Read | Agnipath scheme: What will Agniveers do after 4 yrs of service?

The age relaxation of 3 years’ will also help more and more Agniveers to come to CAPFs, which currently have an upper age limit of 23 years in Constable ranks, after finishing their four years’ service in the armed forces so that they have permanent jobs, said this officer.

Read | Agnipath scheme's myths Vs facts as govt explains amid protests

The CAPFs and Assam Rifles, both under the administrative control of the MHA, have over one lakh vacancies, and the decision will also help fill these vacancies at a fast pace every year, said a second officer.

On Friday, protests spread to some states in the south and the east, even as the government reassured young people that recruits under the Agnipath scheme will be taken care of after their four-year stint in the forces.

‘Agnipath' stir LIVE: 6 FIRs filed, 260 people arrested after UP violence

Several central ministers issued appeals for calm and said young men should take advantage of the one-time relaxation in the upper ceiling of age for eligibility, announced late on Thursday.

At least 316 trains were affected and 200 cancelled, railway officials said. Another 14 trains were torched across Telangana, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh

Earlier this week, the government announced the Agnipath scheme for induction of personnel between 17-and-a-half years and 21 years for a four-year period. In the new policy, only a quarter of the initial intake will eventually be absorbed into the forces and allowed to serve for an additional 15 years after a second round of screening. The government argues that the scheme will boost intake to 46,000 a year. It has also said that Agniveers will be absorbed on priority in other central security forces and be eligible for government jobs such as in the railways.

But protesters are angry about the length of service, no pension provisions for those released early, and the fact that the age limit to 21 rules out many aspirants. The government tried to assuage this concern with the one-time relaxation for 2022.

“The Centre’s decision to increase the age limit will benefit a large number of youth,” home minister Amit Shah tweeted on Friday, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a sensitive decision showing concern for the youth of the country.

According to government data available as of 2020, there were more than 100,000 vacancies in CAPF – including Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Assam Riles.

The CAPFs and AR are engaged in critical duties such as border security, law and order in states, insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir and Maoist-affected states, civil aviation, metro security and VVIP duties. At present, the total strength of CAPFs and AR is 930,000, including 34,000 women.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said the Agnipath scheme will provide India’s youth an opportunity to serve in the armed forces, and that it has been introduced to strengthen the security of the country. “The youthful profile it will create will benefit the armed forces as these recruits can be easily trained for new technologies, and their health and fitness levels will also be better,” he said.

According to top officials, soldiers recruited under the model will be assigned front-line duties in the three services, and these Agniveers will serve in forward areas along the borders with China and Pakistan, at premier air bases, on board warships and submarines, and handle modern weapons and systems.

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