Published: 15th June 2022
Agnipath scheme applauded by many; commanders call it great opportunity for youth
"Over the period of time, we will be able to get a good balance of working hands and experience," said Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen BS Raju, speaking about the scheme
The Agnipath scheme that was approved by the Indian government on June 14, Tuesday, has been appreciated by many top officials and commanders from different parts of the country. The scheme seeks to recruit youth for 4 years in the three divisions of the Indian Armed Forces, namely, the Army, Navy and Air Force. The fresh hires would be called "Agniveers".
Speaking about the scheme, Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) Lieutenant General BS Raju, on Wednesday, June 15, stated that the Indian Army was eager to hire fresh recruits from Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and polytechnics. He said that youth from these institutions would be recruited for the technical arms like signals and engineers — the posts that require people already qualified in technical skills.
"We will be tapping the resources of ITIs and polytechnics so that when the Army gets them into the fold of the Indian Army the recruitment of their subsequent training is reduced. The prestrained people will be polished upon the equipment we have," he added, as mentioned in a report by ANI. The youth from ITIs and polytechnics would be hired under this scheme under the Skill India initiative rolled out by the Centre. He also informed that the scheme would be rolled out in the coming three months. "In around 90 days from today, the first recruitment rally will take place and 180 days from now the first recruits will be in our training centres. And around a year from now, our Agniveers will be in battalions," said Raju.
Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi has also praised the scheme, stating that it would make better citizens of the youngsters. "On completion of the four-year period, Agniveers will go to the society as a disciplined, dynamic, motivated and skilled workforce for employment in other sectors, including corporate and industry, CAPFs (Central Armed Police Forces) and DPSUs (Defence Public Sector Undertakings) to pursue a career in jobs of their choice," he said, as reported by PTI.
Meanwhile, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Air Marshal Sreekumar Prabhakaran, opined, "I am quite sure that if a youngster (from the union territory) joins the military under the scheme and stays with us for four years, he will leave as a different person and probably more of an Indian than a radical."
Additionally, Director General of the NCC Lt Gen Gurbirpal Singh said, on June 15, that the scheme would provide a good opportunity for National Cadet Corps cadets. "Under the Agnipath scheme, NCC cadets have a good opportunity to become Agniveer for four years and they can follow other professions afterwards. The main objective of the NCC is to make youths and cadets responsible citizens and NCC cadets who become Agniveers will become more responsible citizens when they go back to civilian life," he stated, as reported by PTI.
The Agnipath scheme has been deliberated by the senior-level officers from the air force, navy and the army for about two years. Hires will be made under the programme largely on a short-term contractual basis with an aim to cut the ballooning salary and pension bills and enable a youthful profile of the armed forces.