Delhi high court today turned down all the 23 applications against the Agnipath recruitment scheme, court said there is no need to revisit or intervene in this matter.
In the wake of today’s judgement by Delhi High Court in favor of Agnipath recruitment scheme let us look at the advantages and dis-advantages of this new recruitment scheme launched in the year 2022 for defense forces by Government Of India.
The Government Of India announced a new recruitment scheme for Army, Air Force, and Navy. This scheme has replaced the previous method of recruitment for defense forces. This recruitment scheme is only for the non-officer ranks in the forces. The government of India has completely removed the older recruitment scheme where all the recruitments were offered a permanent commission to the soldiers with all the benefits such as a pension, canteen facility post-retirement, etc.
This big change is brought in with the aim to bring down the average age of soldiers and maintain a young defense at all times. The soldiers who will get recruited under this scheme will be termed as ‘Agniveers’.
The total service tenure of the selected candidates under the Agnipath Scheme will be of 4 years after which up to 25% of the candidates will get permanent status and will have a full-service period till retirement age and the rest of the 75% will be relieved from services.
There have been major protests against the scheme from opposition parties as well as students across the country and likewise, there is support for the scheme by the government and many others. Various defense experts have commented on the pros and cons of the scheme. Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the scheme that have been identified so far through debates and expert comments:
Advantages Of Agnipath Scheme:
- A complete transformation of the age structure is aimed with this radical change in the defense forces.
- A youthful force will be built over time, the forces will have a lower average age which would be more effective in terms of operation.
- Young people will have an option to spend 4 years in the forces, serve the country and come out of this system at a very young age to pursue other professions with the skills of discipline and effectiveness that they have learned in the 4 years of their service.
- Yearly 46000 recruitments will be done under this scheme.
- A lumpsum package will be given to the Agniveers at the end of the service period this will be close to 12 lakhs and will be called the ‘Seva Nidhi’ package.
- Corporates and private sector opportunities will be open for the agniveers at the end of the service period.
- Paramilitary forces will give priority to agniveers in their recruitment drives.
Disadvantages Of Agnipath Scheme:
- This scheme is such a drastic change that it should have involved all the stakeholders in the drafting stage itself, the reason is that soon after the protests broke out the Govt Of India made many changes in a haphazard manner. It is a matter of high sensitivity and thorough discussions should have been done before bringing in such a big change to the country’s defense sector.
- 6 months of the training period is proposed under this scheme for selected candidates and 3.5 years of service after that, according to defense veterans this tenure is very short and it won’t be enough to train and utilize these agniveers effectively in many operations that require years of training to master the handling of complex war machines and systems.
- The total number of vacancies under this scheme is set at 46000 per annum which is near about half of the recruitments that were done till the pre-covid era.
- The relieved candidates will not have any post-retirement support or benefits, they will not have any pensions or other benefits. The 12 lakh INR Seva Nidhi package won’t be enough to sustain a living keeping inflation in mind.
- There is no written proposal or mandate that these retired agniveers will be given priority in the private sector or para-military forces.
- The criteria to retain up to 25% of agniveers for permanent jobs is also not clarified under the scheme. There is a lot of vagueness around the rules related to the scheme and that is a major concern as per defense experts.
- The psychological aspect post-retirement of these individuals is another concern as they will be having arms training experience and there is a probability of them drifting towards crime.
- It would have been better if the Government Of India discussed the scheme with all the related stakeholders including the opposition and launch a pilot version of the scheme and then take further steps accordingly.
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