News Brief

Agnipath Scheme Tweaks On The Horizon? Indian Army Surveys Agniveers And Other Key Stakeholders

Kuldeep Negi

May 23, 2024, 12:38 PM | Updated 12:38 PM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, CDS Lt General Anil Chauhan and Army Chief General Manoj Pande.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, CDS Lt General Anil Chauhan and Army Chief General Manoj Pande.

The Army is reportedly conducting an internal survey on the Agnipath scheme to evaluate its impact on the recruitment process.

This survey aims to gather feedback and draw up recommendations for the incoming government on potential changes to the scheme.

Introduced in June 2022, the Agnipath scheme recruits Agniveers — soldiers, airmen, and sailors — for a four-year term.

After this period, up to 25 per cent of Agniveers can apply for regular service, based on merit and organisational needs.

The scheme has sparked significant debate, especially in political circles.

The Opposition Congress has promised to discontinue the scheme and revert to the previous military recruitment process.

Recently, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh stated that the government is open to modifications in the Agnipath scheme if necessary, and the future of youths joining as Agniveers will not be impacted.

According to officials cited in an Indian Express report, the Army survey is gathering input from various stakeholders, including Agniveers, recruiting and training staff at regimental centres, and unit and sub-unit commanders.

The responses to the survey, which consists of around ten questions for each group, will be consolidated and assessed by the end of the month.

Recruiters, for example, will need to offer insights into the main motivations behind Agniveers joining the Army and their enthusiasm for the service. They will also need to address questions regarding the applicants' overall awareness, the quality of candidates, and the response of applicants from both urban and rural areas to the online entrance examination.

Recruiters will also provide feedback on the overall impact of the Agnipath scheme on Army recruitment.

Training staff at regimental centres will offer insights into the physical standards, training assimilation, educational levels, and overall behaviour of Agniveers compared to previously recruited soldiers.

They will also assess the bonding levels among Agniveers and the impact of competition for permanent absorption.

Unit and sub-unit commanders will provide inputs on whether Agniveers are assets or liabilities in military operations and other human resource issues.

They will also provide insights on the comparative performance of Agniveers with soldiers recruited before the scheme's implementation and provide feedback on the observed qualities of Agniveers.

The survey will also collect feedback from Agniveers on their reasons for joining the Army, other job opportunities they considered, and their career preferences after their four-year tenure.

They will be asked if they wish to remain in the Army or seek other job opportunities, including in paramilitary forces.

Additionally, the survey will inquire if Agniveers would recommend the programme to friends and family members.

Based on these inputs, the Army is expected to propose potential tweaks to the Agnipath scheme, including engagement terms and a sustainable retention percentage for Agniveers.

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Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.

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