'Boy Scout?': Congress raises 4 questions on 'penny-wise, security-foolish' Agnipath
Congress said Agnipath is an ill-judged and rash scheme and is a matter of grave concern. The scheme is controversial, ridden with risks and subverts the long-standing traditions and ethos of the armed forces.
The Congress on Thursday said the government came up with a recruitment scheme like Agnipath without wider consultation while there are thousands of Army posts lying vacant. Urging PM Modi to put the scheme in abeyance immediately, the Congress said the scheme will make only a mockery of military training. Agnipath protests: Trains set afire, Bihar BJP office ransacked as stir grows | Top 10 points
As protests against the scheme spread across north India, the Congress held a press conference with former Union minister P Chidambaram, Delhi Congress leader Ajay Maken, Rajasthan Congress leader Sachin Pilot, party national spokesperson Pawan Khera addressing. "The scheme is penny-wise but security-foolish," Chidambaram said. Drawing a parallel between the scheme and the farm laws, Sachin Pilot said, "During that time too, the government said the farm laws are for the benefits of the farmers. But finally, the government had to withdraw the farm laws. Similarly, they are saying Agnipath is for the betterment of the youth but the youth have taken to the streets."
"How do you train a soldier in six months? This is not Boy Scout training. This is not NCC. This is a fighting soldier who has to give up his life, not only for his country but also for his comrades. He is fighting in the trenches, in a unit. You don't inculcate such qualities in six months of training. They are treating it like Boy Scout training. And then after you half-train them, where will you deploy them," Chidambaram said.
Raising four questions about the short-term training and recruiting scheme announced by the government, Ajay Maken said, "Will these people have satisfaction serving the country only for a short time? Will they have adequate training only in six months? Will they be encouraged enough to fight for the country? Will they have security when they know 25% of them will have to do something else after 4 years?"
"The correct way to go about a new scheme is to prepare a statement of facts on the situation and then share it with serving military officers, retired officers, with political parties," Chidambaram said.
"There's no guarantee that soldiers recruited under the scheme will be better trained & motivated to defend the country. We have read and heard the views expressed by retired Defence officers. Almost unanimously they have opposed the scheme and we believe that many serving officers share the same reservations about this scheme," Chidambaram said adding that the scheme will induct ‘ill-trained’ and ‘ill-motivated’ soldiers into the services and after four years will discharge ‘disappointed and unhappy’ ex-soldiers into the society.