Here Are The Five Changes The Army Wants In Agnipath

Ujjwal Shrotryia

Jun 11, 2024, 03:58 PM | Updated Jun 13, 2024, 02:33 PM IST

PM Modi interacts with Army, BSF jawans in Gurez, Kashmir (@narendramodi/Twitter)
PM Modi interacts with Army, BSF jawans in Gurez, Kashmir (@narendramodi/Twitter)

The Indian Army wants some changes in the much-contentious Agniveer recruitment scheme.

Introduced in 2022, the scheme has seen widespread protests from aspirants in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Haryana.

The primary bone of contention in the Agniveer scheme is the serving time, where except for the 25 per cent of Agniveers that will be retained permanently, the remaining Agniveers (75 per cent) will be let go by the army after four years of service.

This has cast doubts about the future of Agniveers after the completion of four years.

Agniveer was a crucial issue in the 2024 general elections across states that have seen a reduction of seats for the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) government.

Some of its allies, especially the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United), have shown their dissatisfaction with the scheme and have suggested some changes.

The Indian Army has also shown its willingness to change some of its provisions. It has conducted a review and survey from key stakeholders for recommendations for potential changes in the scheme.

Here are the five changes that the Indian Army wants in the scheme.

(1) Increase the percentage of Agniveers that will be retained

The army wants the number of Agniveers to be retained after the expiration of four years to increase to 60-70 per cent.

In the current form, only 25 per cent of the Agniveers will be retained, with the remaining 75 per cent to be let go with a lump sum payment of close to 12 lakh.

(2) Increase the serving period

It also wants to increase the serving period from the earlier four years to seven to eight years.

Many retired veteran officers have stated that a soldier fully trained according to the ethos of army and its regiment system takes atleast six to seven years.

In the current Agniveer system of the four year period, a formal basic training happens only for a period of nine months. The remaining training is done, on the job, when the Agniveer is deployed with the unit.

The veterans contend that as soon as the Agniveer develops some expertise in a specific field with the regiment the four-year period expires and he is released. This will create issues in the future.

(3) Increasing the age of recruitment in the technical fields

Currently, the Agniveers are hired between the ages of 17 and 21.5 years.

The army is proposing to increase the age to 23 years for recruitment in technical arms, like Signal, Air Defence, and Engineers. These arms require longer training durations due to their technical nature.

Again, by the time the Agniveers develop expertise in a technical field, the service period expires and he has to be let go of.

(4) Disability payment and help in finding jobs after expiration of the serving term

The army also wants an ex-gratia payment for Agniveers that have a disability while under training.

Moreover, there should be a professional agency that guides the Agniveers on how to find future jobs after the expiration of their serving term.

(5) Subsistence Allowance

The Financial Express reported that a provision for subsistence allowance to the family members of the Agniveer if he/she dies in war should also be included in the scheme.

Staff Writer at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.

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