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Govt rolls out new ‘Agnipath’ recruitment scheme to make Armed Forces younger, fitter & more tech savvy

Central government is very concerned and is providing all possible assistance to the state, says Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

The Union Cabinet today approved a transformative reform scheme to enable Indian youth to serve in the Armed Forces for four years. The AGNIPATH scheme aims to give the armed forces a younger, fitter and tech-savvy profile to meet the challenges ahead, the government said.

Announcing the launch of the new scheme, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said it was a "historic" decision. The chiefs of all the three services — Army, Navy and Air Force — were present for the launch.

It is envisaged that average age profile of Indian Armed forces would come down by about 4-5 years by implementation of this scheme for recruiting “Agniveers” as the young soldiers will be called.

“The nation stands to immensely benefit by infusion of highly inspired youth with deeper understanding of self-discipline, diligence and focus who would be adequately skilled and once they leave the forces after four years will be able to contribute in other sectors.,” according to an official statement.  

The AGNIPATH scheme has been designed to enable a youthful profile of the Armed Forces. It will provide an opportunity to the youth who may be keen to don the uniform by attracting young talent from the society who are more in tune with contemporary technological trends and plough back skilled, disciplined and motivated manpower into the society after four years.

The dividends of a short military service to the nation, society and the youth of the nation are immense. This includes inculcation of patriotism, team work, enhancement of physical fitness, ingrained loyalty for the country and availability of trained personnel to boost national security in times of external threats, internal threats and natural disasters, the official statement explained.

This is a major defence policy reform introduced by the Government to usher in a new era in the Human Resource policy of the three Services. The policy, which comes into immediate effect, will hereafter govern the enrolment for the three services.

*Under the scheme, about 45,000 people between the age of 17.5 years and 21 years will be inducted into the services for a four-year tenure. The recruitments will begin within the next 90 days and the first batch will be ready by July 2023. 

*Those selected for the scheme will be known as Agniveers. The selection will be made through an online centralised system, the government said. Educational qualification for Agniveers will be the same as the criteria for regular positions in the force.

*This four-year tenure will include a six-month training. During this period, they will be paid a monthly salary between Rs 30,000-40,000 plus allowances. They will also be entitled to medical and insurance benefits.

*After four years, only 25 per cent of these soldiers will be retained and they will join the regular cadre and go on to serve for a full 15 years in non-officer ranks.

*The remaining Agniveers will exit the services after four years with a one-time ‘Seva Nidhi’ package of Rs 11 to 12 lakh  but they will not be eligible for pension benefits.

*Provisions have been made for loss of life or disability due to an injury on duty.

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