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Sansad TV: Perspective- First batch of Agniveers

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Introduction:

The Passing Out Parade of the first batch of Agniveers was held at INS Chilka. It was a first of its kind ceremony to be held post-sunset, marking the completion of training of around 2600 Agniveers, including 273 women. The batch includes those who were part of the Indian Navy Republic Day parade at the Kartavya Path on 26th January this year. These Agniveers underwent 16 weeks of training at INS Chilka – the premier training establishment for sailors’ training upon induction.

All about the scheme as discussed:

  • Agnipath is a new defence recruitment model that would allow “patriotic and motivated” youth to serve in the armed forces for a period of four years.
  • The process of recruitment will commence in 90 days.
  • The plan is to recruit about 45,000-50,000 personnel below officer rank in the three services every year through a biannual exercise with a six-month gap.
  • As per the Agnipath scheme, this year there will be a planned intake of about 46,000 young men and women.
  • Soldier recruited through Agnipath scheme will be known as ‘Agniveers’.
  • This scheme will be the only form of recruitment of soldiers into the three defence services Armed Force, Indian Navy and Air Forces, hereon.
  • Enrolment of Agniveers to all three services will be through a centralized online system, with special rallies and campus interviews at recognised technical institutes such as the Industrial Training Institutes, and the National Skills Qualifications Framework. The Model is based on an all-India merit-based selection process.

Objectives of it:

  • It aims at providing an opportunity to the patriotic and motivated youth with the ‘Josh’ and ‘Jazba’ to join the Armed Forces.
  • It is expected to bring down the average age profile of the Indian Armed Forces by about 4 to 5 years.
  • The scheme envisions that, the average age in the forces is 32 years today, which will go down to 26 in six to seven years.

Various benefits to Youth

  • Upon the completion of the 4-years of service, a one-time ‘Seva Nidhi’ package of Rs 11.71 lakhs will be paid to the Agniveers that will include their accrued interest thereon.
  • They will also get a Rs 48 lakh life insurance cover for the four years.
  • In case of death, the payout will be over Rs 1 crore, including pay for the unserved tenure.
  • The government will help rehabilitate soldiers who leave the services after four years. They will be provided with skill certificates and bridge courses.
  • Future Ready Soldiers: It will create “future-ready” soldiers.
  • More Employment Opportunities: It will increase employment opportunities and because of the skills and experience acquired during the four-year service such soldiers will get employment in various fields.
  • Higher Skilled Workforce: This will also lead to availability of a higher-skilled workforce to the economy which will be helpful in productivity gain and overall GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth.

Issues related to the scheme

  • Difficult to Find Another Job:The ‘Agnipath’ scheme opens the way for recruitment of about 45,000 soldiers into Army, Navy and Air Force in the first year but on a short-term contract of four years. After the completion of the contract, 25% of them will be retained and the rest will leave the forces.
    • The four years of service will mean other jobs will be out of reach after that, and they will be left behind their peers.
  • No Pension Benefit: Those hired under the ‘Agnipath’ scheme will be given a one-time lumpsum of a little more than Rs 11 lakh when they end their four-year tenure.
    • However, they do not receive any pension benefits. For most, seeking a second job is essential to support themselves and their families.
  • Training May Remain Unutilized: Forces will lose experienced soldiers.
    • The jawans joining the Army, Navy and Air Force will be given technical training so that they are able to support the ongoing operations. But these men and women will leave after four years, which could create a void.

Conclusion

  • Despite the reservations, there is potential for future employment to these youth as the defence industry is ready to take off in a huge manner in India.
  • Once this happens, the industry will have readily skilled youth for the jobs and hence there is also future to these youths. At the same time, national security is ensured.