As protests against the controversial Agnipath Entry Scheme spread throughout the country, more details have emerged about the entry scheme. While answering questions, Lt General Arun Puri, Additional Secretary, Department of Military Affairs has clarified that the Agnipath entry scheme will be the only entry scheme to become a soldier in the Indian Army.
The era of permanent entry in the Indian Army is over. Agnipath is the only way to join the Indian Army from now on. Anyone who wants to join the Indian Army as a soldier would have to first become an Agniveer, get trained for 6 months and then complete a three and a half-year tour of duty. Based on their performance and let’s all accept it, how much they butter their seniors, a select few Agniveers will be given the opportunity to become permanent soldiers in the Army. They would then have to serve for a minimum of 15 years.
This clarification by the ministry of defence has somewhat shaken the supporters of the scheme who were earlier advocating that those who don’t want to be Agniveers can join via permanent entry which is not the case anymore.
Lt General puri also said the allowance given to Agniveers on special deployments like in Siachen will be the same as that of regular soldiers. Ministry of Defence seems to have finally acknowledged the protest after it turned violent and hence any candidate applying to become Agniveer will have to submit a certificate declaring that they have not taken part in any protests.
Here are the key statements made by MoD spokespersons during the press conference.
“The announcement of the Agnipath Recruitment Scheme was made on June 14. But the reform was long-pending. We want to induct youth and experience with this reform. Today, a large number of jawan are in their 30s and officers are getting command much later than in the past. Wars will be tech-savvy in the future. We need the youth, who are technologically strong,”
“Around 17,600 people are taking premature retirement from the three services every year. No one ever tried to ask them what they will do after retirement. We were studying this for a long time but did not get time to implement it. In the next 4-5 years, our intake (of soldiers) will be 50,000-60,000 & will increase to 90,000 – 1 lakh subsequently. We’ve started small at 46,000 to analyse the scheme and to build up infra capacity. When such people will come out of army they will be skilled and disciplined.”
“The announcements regarding the reservations for ‘Agniveers’ announced by the different ministries and departments was pre-planned and not in reaction to the arson that happened after Agnipath scheme announcement. The MHA gave statement that CAPF and (4) state police have said that they will give jobs to Agniveers,” said Lt Gen Puri
“We are going to do registration process for Agniveers from June 24th and from July 24, phase one that is the online examination, will start and by December we will enroll the batch. No question of rollback of Agneepath scheme,” Air Marshal SK Jha said.
We will keep updating everyone on major updates of the Agnipath Entry Scheme.