Explained: The Agnipath scheme for recruiting soldiers — what is it, how will it work?
The government on Tuesday unveiled its new Agnipath scheme for recruiting soldiers across the three services. The new defence recruitment reform, which has been cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security, will come into effect immediately, and the soldiers recruited under the scheme will be called Agniveers.
What is the Agnipath scheme?
Under the new scheme, around 45,000 to 50,000 soldiers will be recruited annually, and most will leave the service in just four years. Of the total annual recruits, only 25 per cent will be allowed to continue for another 15 years under permanent commission. The move will make the permanent force levels much leaner for the over 13-lakh strong armed forces in the country.
This will, in turn, considerably reduce the defence pension bill, which has been a major concern for governments for many years.
What is the eligibility criteria?
The new system is only for personnel below officer ranks (those who do not join the forces as commissioned officers).
Under the Agnipath scheme, aspirants between the ages of 17.5 years and 21 years will be eligible to apply. The recruitment standards will remain the same, and recruitment will be done twice a year through rallies.
Facing scrutiny after Agnipath protests, coaching centres shut in town in Aligarh
With coaching centres across Aligarh under scrutiny after protests against theCentre’s Agnipath scheme took a violent turn, many such centres are now closed. On Wednesday, all centres in and around Tappal, a little over 100 km from Delhi, had their shutters down.
In fact, Sudhir Sharma, the owner of the biggest one there — Young India Coaching Centre — has been arrested in connection with the violence.
Across Aligarh district, 76 people have been arrested and 68 taken into preventive custody, of whom at least 11 are operators of coaching centres. Most of the arrests of coaching centre operators were from the Tappal region.