Violent Protests in Bihar over Centre’s ‘Agnipath’ Scheme

NEW DELHI/PATNA:

Protest erupted in parts of Bihar in India against the new recruitment model, Agnipath, for the short-term induction of soldiers in the armed forces, announced by the government on Tuesday.

In Nawada, several groups of students reportedly burnt tyres at different centers and raised slogans against the centre demanding the rollback of the tour of duty scheme. A similar protest was also reported from Munger district of Bihar.

As per latest news, students have blocked Ajmer- Delhi highway in Rajasthan. While reports of violent protest came in from Uttar Pradesh’s Ambedkar Nagar, Bihar’s Muzzafarpur, and Ara district.

Expressing his concern, a protester said “The recruitment be done as it used to be done earlier. What is job security after 4 yrs, nobody will go to Army just for 4yrs. This scheme is just a formality done by the government. We demand old recruitment policy,”.

“Where will we go after working for only 4 years? We understand that the centre is trying to provide jobs only on contract basis. There are no jobs for last 7 years and even the routine recruitment has been stopped. And now, this announcement has made us very unhappy,” another protester said.

The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved an attractive recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the Armed Forces. The scheme is called AGNIPATH and 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

It is envisaged that average age profile of Indian Armed forces would come down by about 4-5 years by implementation of this scheme. The nation stands to immensely benefit by 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. 

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. 

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.

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

 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 his 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 version of himself/herself both professionally as also personally.

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.

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.

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