'Recruitment to begin soon': Rajnath Singh's appeal to youth amid Agnipath protests

Published on Jun 17, 2022 11:25 AM IST
As the protests against Agnipath continues for the third day across the country, defence minister Rajnath Singh said recruitment through this newly launched scheme will begin shortly.
The Agnipath scheme met stiff resistance from opposition political parties and protests from youth after it was launched on Tuesday. (AP)
The Agnipath scheme met stiff resistance from opposition political parties and protests from youth after it was launched on Tuesday. (AP)
By | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said the recruitment into the military through the Agnipath scheme will begin soon and advised youngsters to start preparation. The minister's statement came as widespread protests against Agnipath continued for the third day across the country. Calling the scheme a ‘golden opportunity’, the defence minister thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allowing age waiver for the first batch to be recruited through the scheme.

Follow live updates of Agnipath protests across the country

Protests continue against Agnipath scheme in Bihar for 3rd day, train set afire

"Agnipath is a golden opportunity for the youth to join the defence system and serve the country. As the recruitment was stalled for the last two years, many were deprived of the opportunity. For them, PM Modi increased the age limit from 21 to 23 years," Rajnath Singh tweeted.

"I heartily thank PM Modi for his sensitivity towards the future of the country's youth. I appeal to the youth that the process of recruitment will begin in a few days. So, start your preparation," the defence minister added.

Concerns have been raised over the uncertainty of the future of the Agniveers - youngsters who will enrol under the scheme -- as the scheme will provide employment in the Army, the Navy and the Air Force only for four years. That youngsters between the age of 17.5 years and 21 years may not be able to ensure the security of the country was another key issue highlighted by opposition parties. The Congress of Thursday extended support to the protest against the Agnipath scheme and termed it as a 'hare-brained' one introduced at a time when several posts were lying vacant in the military.

Coming under pressure, the government on Thursday allowed a one-time age waiver for the scheme considering that recruitment was stalled for the last two years owing to the pandemic. The upper age limit now has been raised to 23 instead of 21, but this will be applicable only for the first batch, the government clarified.

Though the government modified the age limit within two days after the scheme was launched, the push from the BJP leaders, Union ministers, and BJP chief ministers defending the scheme sends a clear message that the government is determined to go ahead with the Agnipath recruitment.

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