Amid nationwide protests against the government’s controversial new ‘Agnipath’ scheme for short-term recruitment in the Armed Forces, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Saturday announced it will be reserving 10 per cent vacancies for recruitment in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Assam Rifles for ‘Agniveers’.
The Ministry also announced a 3-year age relaxation above the upper age limit for the recruitment of ‘Agniveers’ in the two forces. The first batch of ‘Agniveers’ will get an age relaxation of five years beyond the upper age limit, the ministry tweeted on Saturday.
Earlier, in an attempt to dial down the anger against the new scheme, the government had announced a one-time relaxation in the upper age limit for Armed Forces entrants this year, raising it from 21 to 23 years, saying there had been no recruitment in the last two years. Under the original scheme announced on Tuesday, only aspirants between 17-and-a-half years and 21 years of age are eligible for recruitment. But on Thursday, the Defence Ministry said that “the upper age limit for the recruitment process for Agnipath scheme for 2022 is increased to 23 years”.
Over the last few days, thousands have taken to the streets to protest against the scheme across the country. Trains were torched, tyres burnt and water cannons deployed as agitators clashed with police officials, prompting a complete shutdown of internet services in some states. One protester was killed in police firing in Secunderabad, Telangana.