Changes in Agnipath Scheme

The Agnipath Scheme was launched by central government recently. The scheme aims to enrol youths into service for four years. But it has sparked protests in several parts of the country.

What is the controversy?

  • Under the scheme, youths will be enrolled for four years into service.
  • After completion of the tenure, 25% of Agniveers will be retained or re-enlisted into regular cadre. 75% will be demobilised with an exit package
  • This has sparked protests because protestors are of the view that, this scheme will limit the opportunities for permanent jobs in defence forces, that provide fixed salaries, pensions along with other benefits.

Centre’s view

Central Government has explained to the youths that, youths will get a generous exit package of Rs 11.71 lakh, after four years. They will be given priority in government services like CAPFs, state police forces.  However, to calm down the protestors, government has introduced several changes to the new scheme.

What are the changes?

  • Union defence minister Rajnath Singh approved proposal of 10% reservation for Agniveers in job vacancies in ministry of defence, who meet the requisite eligibility criteria. It would be in addition to existing reservation for ex-servicemen.
  • Ministry of home affairs (MHA) also announced a 10% quota and upper age limit relaxation of three years for Agniveers, for their recruitment in Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPFs) and Assam Rifles, after completing four years. Thus, the upper age limit for CAPFs now stands at 26 years. Apart from that, first batch of Agniveers will avail a relaxation of five years, taking it to 28 years.
  • Government has also increased the upper-age limit for recruitment to 23 years from 21 years for 2022.
  • The National institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) under Department of school education, has announced to start a special programme, to enable 10th pass Agniveers to further their education and obtain 12th class pass certificate through customised courses.
  • Ministry of education will launch a three-year skill-based bachelor’s degree programme for Agniveers, in order to recognise their skill and to equip them for various job roles in civilian sector.

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