New Delhi: Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday met the chiefs of the three services amid growing protests against the ‘Agneepath’ military recruitment scheme in many parts of the country. Singh held meetings with the Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force for the second consecutive day on the matter. No official statement has been issued regarding the meeting. It is being told that the ways to pacify the protesters were discussed in the meeting.
Singh had on Saturday approved a proposal for 10 per cent reservation in Defense Ministry jobs for ‘agniveers’ who fulfill the essential eligibility criteria. The Home Ministry has also announced 10 per cent reservation in Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles for ‘Agniveers’ after completing four years of tenure under the new recruitment scheme. The Indian Air Force gave detailed information regarding the new plan on Sunday. Indian Navy and Army can also do the same soon.
The government on Thursday night raised the upper age limit for recruitment under the ‘Agneepath’ scheme from 21 to 23 years for the year 2022 in an effort to pacify the protesters. It had launched the scheme on Tuesday, saying youths in the age group of seventeen-and-a-half years to 21 years would be inducted for a four-year term, while 25 per cent of them would be inducted into regular service later.
The youth recruited under the new scheme will be called ‘Agniveer’. One of the main objectives of this scheme is to reduce the average age of military personnel and to cut the rising salary and pension bill. The new scheme has been announced in the backdrop of the recruitment process which has been stalled in the Army for more than two years due to the Corona virus pandemic.
Youth opposing Agneepath scheme are unaware of its benefits:
Muraleedharan Also, he requested the youth to withdraw their performance. They (youth) need not be apprehensive about the plan to recruit youth in the age group of 17-and-a-half to 21 years on short-term contract basis for four years in the Army, Navy and Air Force, Muraleedharan told reporters here. He said that the youth are protesting without knowing about it.
The Union Minister said that as far as the future of youth, welfare of armed forces and national security is concerned, the Narendra Modi government at the Center has not compromised on it. He urged the youth opposing this plan to withdraw the protest. Muraleedharan’s statement came a day after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urged Modi to shelve the scheme. Vijayan had said that the opposition to this plan is a clear indication of the sentiments of the youth of India.