The first batch of Agniveers from the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAK-LI) Regiment successfully completed its training on Saturday (5 August), confirmed the Indian Army.
In honor of this significant achievement, a ceremony was organised at the Nongrum auditorium of the JAK LI Regimental Centre which was attended by the Agniveers' parents and mentors, stated PRO (Defence), Srinagar.
"To mark this historical event, a befitting ceremony was organised at the Nongrum Auditorium of the JAK LI Regimental Centre, which was witnessed by their parents and mentors who formed part of their 31-week-long journey of training," said PRO (Defence), Srinagar.
This comes after Indian Army is looking to increase the intake of permanent cadre under the Agnipath scheme from the earlier 25 to 50 per cent, in order to address personnel shortage that have accumulated over the past three years in the Indian Army.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a halt in recruitment activities for two years.
Last year in 2022, the government introduced Agnipath scheme, for recruitment of soldiers of 'personnel below officer rank' in the three services.
Under this scheme, aspirants in the age bracket of 17 to 21 years will be recruited for a maximum service period of four years. After expiration of four years, only 25 per cent of Agniveers will be given permanent commission.
The remaining soldiers will have to leave the service after the expiration of four years, with each soldier receiving a lump-sum amount of around Rs 12 lakh and benefits.
Since the introduction of the Agnipath scheme, the Army has successfully inducted 40,000 Agniveers in two separate batches as part of the first intake. The first batch was inducted in the first half of December 2022, followed by the second batch in the first half of February 2023.
However, each year, approximately 60,000 soldiers retire from the Army, which means that the Army will be short of 20,000 soldiers every year, with no replacement.
Moreover, to ensure a controlled intake, the overall number of recruits has also been capped at 1.75 lakh until 2026.
Officials have acknowledged that the lack of recruitment over the past two years, coupled with limited recruitment of only 1.75 lakh, will result in a significant number of vacancies in the coming years.
Apart from increasing the limit of Agniveers for permanent commission, discussions are ongoing about raising the age limit for entry through the technical route from 21 to 23 years.
Editorial Associate at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.
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