New Delhi: On Tuesday, At a press conference Union defence minister Rajnath Singh and the three service chiefs introduced the short-term defence recruitment policy called Agnipath. Under the scheme, soldiers get released after four years of service and only 25 percent of soldiers, the best professionals will be re-inducted as permanent. Soldiers recruited under the new model will be called ‘Agniveers’. They will form a distinct rank in the three services, and will also wear a distinct insignia as part of their uniform.
Defence Minister said, “Under the ‘Agnipath’ scheme, efforts are to create a youthful profile of the Armed forces. It would help to train them for new technologies and also improve their health levels. This scheme will increase employment opportunities with new skills in different sectors.”
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi today approved an attractive recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the Armed Forces.
The scheme is called AGNIPATH and the youth selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers. pic.twitter.com/ogrikrmhcz
— रक्षा मंत्री कार्यालय/ RMO India (@DefenceMinIndia) June 14, 2022
According to the officials, the ‘Agnipath’ model envisages the recruitment of personnel below officer rank (PBOR) in the army, air force and navy for four years, including six months of training. The govenment said 46,000 Agniveers will be recruited this year.
Lt Gen Anil Puri, Additional Secretary, Department of Military Affairs said, “Today average age is around 32 years, in time to come it will further come down to 26 years. This will happen in six-seven years. In order to transform armed forces into youthful, tech-savvy, modern, there’s a need to harness the youth potential and make him a future-ready soldier”.
Indian Army chief General Manoj Pande said, Agnipath scheme aims to make the Army a future-ready fighting force capable of meeting multiple challenges across full spectrum of conflict. It will increase technical threshold of the Army by recruiting ‘Agniveers’ through ITIs and other tech institutes. The screening and selection based on a sound, fair, transparent and a robust assessment system will ensure that the Army retains the best of the best for a longer serving duration and these personnel will form the core of our organisation.
Chief of Army Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said the IAF shall be imparting a wide range of training & exposure to ‘Agniveers’ in aviation, weapons and sophisticated ground systems. “Agneepath scheme also allows IAF to assess both aptitude and attitude of young people i.e ‘Agniveers’ & prepare them for further specialized training in aviation and non-aviation skills required by IAF, should they opt to join as regular air warriors,” he said.
Indian Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar said, Agnipath scheme is a new idea of the new era. An idea that is made in India and made for India. An idea that will have positive impact on the human resources management of armed forces. An idea that will bring balance between the youth aspirations and future requirements of armed forces. An idea that will make the profile of armed forces more youthful, as per Kargil Committee Report. Right now, Navy has women officers. With Agniveer scheme, women sailors would also be inducted. It’s a major step. All preparations done and we would not face any difficulty. There already is on-board deployment of women officers. We’re a gender-neutral service.
Under this Tour of Duty scheme ‘Agnipath’ will draw a salary of ₹30,000-40,000 per month, officials said, adding that they will also get a non-contributory insurance cover of ₹48 lakh. They will also get an ‘Agniveer skill certificate’ that will help them find jobs after release from service, the officials said.