AGNEEPATH SCHEME 2022: PROS AND CONS

The Union Cabinet made history by authorizing an alluring recruitment program for Indian youngsters to join the armed forces, known as AGNEEPATH (AGNIPATH). The young people chosen for the Agneepath program will be called Agniveers. A window of opportunity for young people to serve their country for four years has opened up with the launch of the Agnipath Scheme.[1]



Introduction to the Agneepath Scheme

The Indian Armed Forces will enroll chosen applicants as Agniveers for four years as part of the central government's Agneepath/Agnipath Scheme. The Agneepath Scheme is a move to recruit 46,000+ Agniveers into the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force. For the first four years, admission through the Agneepath Scheme 2022 will be carried out. The military would teach the recruits the necessary abilities throughout these four years. After the four years are out, Aginveers will return to society as a disciplined, vibrant, motivated, and talented workforce to pursue careers in other industries.

The Agnipath recruitment program is a revolutionary project that will give the armed forces a more modern appearance. According to the new program, women will also be enlisted in the armed forces, according to Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar.[2] However, officials stressed that the necessity for each function would determine whether or not women are hired under the program.



Agneepath/ Agnipath Scheme Details

Agneepath, also known as Agnipath, is a recruitment program for young people in India who want to join the armed forces. Agnipath initiative is a recruitment program for those below the rank of an officer to place younger, more physically fit soldiers on the front lines, many of whom will be hired for four years. The Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force will benefit from this game-changing project's youthful image.

In the Indian armed forces, the phrase "tour of duty" has recently attracted much attention. The Indian government has just started the Agneepath Recruitment Program to help it along. Anyone who wants to join the Indian armed forces can do so through this new entry point and opportunity. There is no doubt that the Agneepath Military Bharti Program is a national government initiative available to all Indian residents. The people selected for this recruiting process are known as "Agniveers."[3]



Purpose of the Agneepath Scheme

In order to train youth and lower retirement and pension costs, the national government's main objective is to establish the Indian Army Agneepath Entrance Program. The Indian government developed this plan to strengthen our security forces. Before being deployed in areas like the Jammu and Kashmir border, selected recruits would receive professional training.

The most significant component of this recruiting is that there will not be an admissions test for the youth. Contrarily, to be prepared to enter the armed forces as professionals, candidates joining under the plan must undergo a longer training period—effectively, with at least two years for just a three tenure. Intake of 'Agniveers' to go up to 1.25 lakhs in future: Dept of Military Affairs. The top military officer also said the Agniveers will get compensation for Rs one crore if he sacrifices his life in service of the nation.[4]



Agneepath Scheme - Broad Objectives

The administration is working toward the following more general goals:

● The Indian Armed Forces' youthful profile needs to be improved so that everyone can be at their most risk-taking and effective during the battle.

● The youth of the nation eager to serve in the Indian Armed Forces for a shorter period have this opportunity.

● The program draws young people from around the nation to embrace, employ, and exploit contemporary technologies with new and improved standards while leveraging national technical institutions.

● Additionally, this program aids in developing the recruits' many talents and abilities, including dynamism, motivation, discipline, and job skills.

● The program hopes to instill in the young people the military mentality, courage, devotion, camaraderie, and the ability to operate as a team.[5]



What will an Agniveer do after 4 years?

Many candidates sign up for the Indian Army recruiting process every year and want to join the renowned Indian armed forces. However, some candidates still fall short for a variety of reasons. Because it offers them a second entrance that creates a space for them, this entry represents a fantastic opportunity to realize their goal.

There is a chance that you will be kept on even after you have served for three years if your performance is good enough to keep you around after your tour of duty is up. Additionally, after serving their three-year term, dismissed soldiers will receive assistance locating civilian employment. According to reports, the government is also discussing with businesses about the 'Agniveers' future employment choices after their term. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), 10% of the available positions in the CAPF and Assam Rifles will be filled by agniveers.[6]



Agneepath Scheme Advantages 2022

● A radical overhaul of the military's recruitment practices.

● Candidates between the lowest age requirement of 17.5 and the maximum age requirement of 23 will have a fantastic opportunity.

● After four years, 25% of the workers will still be employed, which implies lakhs of applicants would eventually land permanent positions.

● The Agniveers who are not hired will gain practical experience working with the military. After their service, they will have developed their discipline and skills. These people would also receive a cash cushion of Rs 12 lakhs, which they can use to launch their businesses or further their education.

● In the first year, the "Agneepath" program allows recruiting of around 46,000 personnel into the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

● A unique chance for young people to serve their country and support nation-building. Young and energetic profile for the armed forces.

● The Agniveers' tempting financial offer. Agniveers have the chance to train in the top universities and improve their skills and qualifications.

● The presence in civil society of disciplined, skilled adolescents who adhere to military values.

● Appropriate re-employment options for those re-entering society and may become role models for the younger generation.



Agneepath Scheme Disadvantages 2022

● The Agneepath Scheme will only provide the candidates with a 4-year position.

● After the training period, only 25% of the candidates will receive permanent positions; the remaining 75% will be required to resign.

● The candidate appointed under the Agneepath Scheme 2022 will not receive a pension.

● The Agniveers would only receive 11 lakh from the government's Seva Nidhi Scheme in a lump sum after four years, while some of the remaining amounts will be withdrawn from the recruits' salaries every month.

● Only the non-commissioned ranks, such as Sepoy, Naik, and Lance Naik, would be hiring the chosen individuals.

● Only applicants between the ages of 17.5-23 are being sought.

● There is no job security because the candidates will once more be jobless after serving for four years.

● The candidate will not receive any additional or fundamental perks, unlike other government employment.



Conclusion

Although the Agnipath Scheme has its justifications, the government should have started it as a pilot program. In recent years, the government has aimed to reduce the military forces' expanding budget for salaries and pensions. The forces continue as they have in the past, in contrast to other Central Government departments where all employees have been enrolled in the National Pension Scheme since 2004 and pay a portion of their pensions. The reason is that, in contrast to their civilian colleagues who serve until age 60, military personnel typically retire young—often under the age of 40.

Most technological workforce belongs to the Navy, Air Force, and several Army corps. They cannot receive training for six months. The majority of learning occurs during on-the-job training. Before being forced to pursue other options, many people would only be beginning to comprehend their duties and responsibilities. This suggests that these organizations would be compelled to accept subpar performance, which could occasionally be critical and result in accidents, or spend a higher portion of their budgets on training.



Those freed would be given a lump amount equally self-funded and government-funded. According to some reports, the government would provide them with a certificate and offer support for finding new employment.

The recruiter is at the greatest disadvantage. A young person who comes from a rural upbringing is exposed to a way of life that is very dissimilar from his own. His attitudes, goals, and perceptions would undergo significant changes in those four years. He would have had a routine, been shielded from society's vices, and experienced comforts even in the most hostile environments. He is returned after four years, given a few lakhs, and left to fend for himself. As he is forced to start over in life, his dreams come crashing down. How long could he get by on his money and memories of his time in the Army?

The government has made grandiose claims about helping the person find a job in the future. Those who retired after 15 years have not received any help from it thus far. No state or ministry has collected the quotas that were assigned to them. No one is responsible to any organization for numbers taken in. Although CAPFs and State Armed Police Forces are the best options for Agniveers, the Home Ministry will not let them join. The Army does not have designated recruitment quotas like state governments, based on Supreme Court directives. They have different standards from the Army and have their own.



The person will eventually be left to fend for himself. Given that he has experience with a weapon and wearing a uniform, it is likely that he will work as a security guard for a private security company, which is what the majority of veterans do. The service's certificate is worthless on the city street. Therefore, before being put into action, such a strategy needs to be carefully considered, which is something that does not seem to be the case. The government must also realize that, contrary to what they claim, spending on national security is an investment rather than a burden on the public coffers.


-- [1] Ministry of Defense, Agnipath Scheme for Recruitment of Youth in The Armed Forces, Press Information Bureau (Jun 15, 2022, 4:56 PM), https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1834564 [2] Rajashree Seal, Agnipath Scheme: Indian Navy to Begin Induction of Women Sailors Soon, India.com, (June 14, 2022, 2:35 PM), https://www.india.com/news/india/agniveer-scheme-indian-navy-to-begin-induction-of-women-sailors-soon-agniveers-indian-army-indian-air-force-recruitment-eligibility-criteria-age-salary-5452623/ [3] Ministry of Defense, Agnipath Scheme For Enrolment In Indian Armed Forces, Indian Air force (June 13, 2022), https://indianairforce.nic.in/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Detailed-BRIEF-13-JUN-22.pdf [4] Editor in Chief, Intake of ‘Agniveers’ to go up to 1.25 lakhs in future: Dept of Military Affairs, The Print(June 19, 2022, 04:16 PM), https://theprint.in/india/intake-of-agniveers-to-go-up-to-1-25-lakhs-in-future-dept-of-military-affairs/1003168/#:~:text=He%20further%20said%2C%20%E2%80%9COur%20intake,in%20service%20of%20the%20nation. [5]Agnipath Scheme, https://indianairforce.nic.in/agniveer/, (last visited July 4,2022) [6] The Hindu Bureau, MHA announces 10% reservation for Agniveers in CAPFs, Assam Rifles, The Hindu, (June 18, 2022, 11:12 PM), https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mha-announces-10-reservation-for-agniveers-in-capfs-assam-rifles/article65539299.ece



This article is written by Arghya Chakraborty of M.S.Ramaiah College of Law.

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