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All You Need To Know About The Agnipath Scheme!

The Union government announced the radical and far-reaching ‘Agnipath’ scheme on Tuesday, deploying Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and the three Service chiefs to deflect criticism that it will undermine the military’s professionalism, ethos, and fighting spirit, as well as potentially lead to the militarization of civil society. The Agnipath initiative, which was approved by the PM Modi-led Cabinet council on security, will begin recruiting 46,000 soldiers, sailors, and airmen this year on a “all-India, all-class” basis.

While the whole country is facing the wrath of the protests and trying to come to terms with them there still lies a great confusion about “what the scheme really is?”. Here’s everything you need to know about the Agnipath scheme!

What is the Agnipath scheme?
The Union Cabinet authorized the Agnipath recruitment scheme for Indian youngsters to enlist in the Armed Forces on June 14, 2022. The program allows patriotic and motivated younger folks to serve in the military for four years. This highly motivating scheme for the youth involves a recruitment process for people below the rank of officer, with the purpose of deploying healthier, younger personnel to the front lines.

In the words of various experts across the country- “it’s a game-changer for the Army, Navy, and Air Force, giving them a more youthful image”.

Who is referred to as Agniveers?
The term “agniveers” refers to the youth who are potentially going to join the armed forces under the Agnipath scheme.

Who can apply for the scheme?
This scheme will recruit men and women between the ages of 17.5 and 23 for the armed forces. “Agniveers will be allowed to apply for the regular cadre voluntarily after four years. Up to 25% of the candidates will be chosen based on merit and organizational requirements that batch”. Lt. Gen Puri further went on to say that the scheme will provide young people the opportunity to serve the country as Agniveers for a short or lengthy period of time. It is being introduced with the purpose of providing opportunities for youngsters to serve in the military for both long and short periods of time.

What are the eligibility criteria for the scheme?
All three services will be enrolled through a unified online system, with rallies and campus interviews conducted by authorized technical colleges such as Industrial Training Institutes and the National Skills Qualifications Framework, among others. Enrollment will be on an ‘All India All Class’ basis, with ages ranging from 17.5 to 23 for those who qualify. Agniveers will meet the medical requirements for military requirements as they apply to their specific categories/trades. Class 10 is the minimum educational prerequisite for becoming a General Duty (GD) soldier, and Agniveers’ educational credentials will continue to be popular for enrollment in a variety of categories.

What is the salary package introduced under the Agnipath scheme?
The salary package for the first year is Rs 4.76 lakh, rising to Rs 6.92 lakh in the fourth year. The Seva Nidhi bundle costs approximately around Rs 11.71 lakh following the release, including interest (tax-free). Additionally, there is also a non-contributory insurance cover of Rs 48 lakh. Hence, individuals will be able to find post-release employment if they receive an Agniveer skill certificate.

What are the terms of service?
Based on merit, willingness, and medical fitness, 25% of Agniveers will be kept in the regular cadre after four years of service. They will then be re-elected for another full term of 15 years. While the remaining 75% of Agniveers would be demobilized, they will be given an exit or “Seva Nidhi” package, which is worth Rs 11-12 lakh, funded in part by their monthly payments, as well as skill certificates and bank loans to assist them in their second jobs.

What are the advantages of the Agnipath scheme?
It offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for young people of India to serve their country and contribute to national progress. The Armed Forces would be more energetic and youthful, and the Agniveers would be paid a generous package along with the opportunity to train in the best military ethos in civil society and institutions while also upgrading their skills and certifications. As a result, civil society will have well-trained and skilled youth with a military mindset.

Are there any reservations for girls under the Agnipath scheme?
Agnipath recruiting is open to women under the stipulated age limit mentioned above, although there is no special quota set forth for them. “For the present period, the Agnipath system is a revolutionary concept. An idea conceived in India and for India’s people. An idea that will have a favorable impact on the human resource management of the armed services” mentioned the Indian Navy’s Admiral R Hari Kumar. He also indicated that women will be chosen under the plan, adding that the Navy will now have sailors instead of exclusively female officers.

When will the Agnipath recruitment start?
The first Agnipath entry rally recruitment will take place between September and October 2022.

Is there any change in the defence budget?
The defence budget for 2022-23 was Rs 5,25,166 crore, which includes Rs 1,19,696 crore for military pensions. The revenue expenditure budget was set at Rs 2,33,000 crore. Expenses for paying personnel salaries and maintaining facilities are included in revenue expenditures.

What is the reason behind the protests against the Agnipath scheme?
The demonstrators claim that the Agnipath scheme provides no job security and that Agniveers recruited will not be eligible for the pension benefits. They are demanding that the Indian Army’s “contractualization” of jobs needs to be reversed. The hopefuls claim that their efforts to join the army will be in vain because they can only serve for four years. The candidates claim, among other things, that they will be jobless after four years.

In conclusion, it is safe to say that the Agnipath scheme is indeed quite insightful and can prove to be an important milestone for the Indian Army. We look forward to further clarifications regarding the concerns of the protesters so peace can be restored again.

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