Friday, June 24, 2022

Agnipath Scheme: In a first, India introduces short-term military service for youth

The Union Cabinet has approved an attractive recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the Armed Forces on Tuesday, called Agnipath scheme

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  • Under the Agnipath scheme, the Agniveers will be enrolled in the Forces under respective Service Acts for a period of four years
  • Post this stint of four years, the Agniveers will be infused into the civil society where they can contribute immensely towards the nation building process

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet has approved an attractive recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the Armed Forces on Tuesday, called Agnipath scheme. The youth selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers. “Agnipath allows patriotic and motivated youth to serve in the Armed Forces for a period of four years. The Agnipath Scheme has been designed to enable a youthful profile of the Armed Forces. It will provide an opportunity to the youth who may be keen to don the uniform by attracting young talent from the society who are more in tune with contemporary technological trends and plough back skilled, disciplined and motivated manpower into the society,” said the Ministry of Defence.

As for the Armed Forces, it will enhance the youthful profile of the Armed Forces and provide a fresh lease of ‘Josh’ and ‘Jazba,’ whilst at the same time bring about a transformational shift towards a more tech-savvy Armed Forces, which is indeed the need of the hour, a document detailing the scheme said.

Agnipath Scheme to reduce avg age profile of Armed Forces by 4-5 yrs

It is envisaged that the average age profile of the Indian Armed Forces would come down by about four-five years by the implementation of this scheme. The nation stands to immensely benefit by the infusion of highly inspired youth with deeper understanding of self-discipline, diligence and focus who would be adequately skilled and will be able to contribute in other sectors, said the document.

“The dividends of a short military service to the nation, society and the youth of the nation are immense. This includes inculcation of patriotism, team work, enhancement of physical fitness, ingrained loyalty for the country and availability of trained personnel to boost national security in times of external threats, internal threats and natural disasters,” it added.

This is a major defence policy reform introduced by the government to usher in a new era in the Human Resource (HR) policy of the three Services. The policy, which comes into immediate effect, will hereafter govern the enrolment for the three services.

Benefits to the Agniveers

Agniveers will be given an attractive customised monthly package along with Risk and Hardship allowances as applicable in the three services. On the completion of the engagement period of four years, Agniveers will be paid one time ‘Seva Nidhi’ package which shall comprise their contribution, including accrued interest thereon and matching contribution from the government equal to the accumulated amount of their contribution, including interest.

The ‘Seva Nidhi’ will be exempt from Income Tax. There shall be no entitlement to gratuity and pensionary benefits. Agniveers will be provided non-contributory Life Insurance Cover of Rs 48 lakh for the duration of their engagement period in the Indian Armed Forces.

During this period of service to the nation, the Agniveers will be imparted with various military skills and experience, discipline, physical fitness, leadership qualities, courage and patriotism. “Post this stint of four years, the Agniveers will be infused into the civil society where they can contribute immensely towards the nation building process. The skills gained by each Agniveer will be recognised in a certificate to form part of their unique resume. Agniveers, on completion of the four-year tenure in the prime of their youth, will be mature and self-disciplined with the realisation to become better a version of themselves both professionally as also personally,” said the document.

The avenues and opportunities that will open up for their progress in the civil world after Agniveer tenure would certainly be a big plus towards nation building. Moreover, the Seva Nidhi of approximately Rs 11.71 lakh would aid the Agniveer to pursue his/her future dreams without the financial pressure, which is normally the case for young people from the financially deprived strata of society.

Agniveers can also be absorbed into Armed Forces after tenure

The individuals, selected for enrolment in the Armed Forces as regular cadre, would be required to serve for a further engagement period of minimum 15 years and would be governed by the existing terms and conditions of service of Junior Commissioned Officers/Other Ranks in Indian Army and their equivalent in Indian Navy and Indian Air Force and that of Non-Combatant enrolled in the Indian Air Force, as amended from time to time.

The scheme will lead to much more youthful and technically adept war fighting force by ensuring a fine balance between youthful and experienced personnel in the Armed Forces.

Terms & Conditions

Under the Agnipath scheme, the Agniveers will be enrolled in the Forces under respective Service Acts for a period of four years. They would form a distinct rank in the Armed Forces, different from any other existing ranks. Upon the completion of four years of service, based on organisational requirement and policies promulgated by the Armed Forces from time-to-time, Agniveers will be offered an opportunity to apply for permanent enrolment in the Armed Forces. These applications will be considered in a centralised manner based on objective criteria including performance during their four year engagement period and up to 25 percent of each specific batch of Agniveers will be enrolled in regular cadre of the Armed Forces. Detailed guidelines will be issued separately.

Enrolment will be undertaken through an online centralised system for all three services with specialised rallies and campus interviews from recognised technical institutes such as Industrial Training Institutes and National Skills Qualifications Framework, among others. Enrolment will be based on ‘All India All Class’ basis and the eligible age will be in range from 17.5 to 21 years. Agniveers will meet the medical eligibility conditions laid down for enrolment in the armed forces as applicable to respective categories/trades. The educational qualification for Agniveers will remain as in vogue for enrollment in various categories. For example, for entry into General Duty (GD) soldier, the educational qualification is Class 10.

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