The Government declared the revolutionary and far-sighted ‘Agnipath’ scheme last Tuesday, in consultation with defense minister Rajnath Singh and the three Service commanders. The project’s goal is to increase the armed forces’ professionalism. The recruitment of 46,000 soldiers, sailors, and airmen is on the cards.
Agnipath: What do you know about the scheme?
It means this undertaking for the recruitment process for individuals below the rank of officer, intending to deploy younger troops on the front lines, many of whom will be on four-year contracts. The Army, Navy, and Air Force will get a young image from this project.
Agnipath: Who can you apply to this scheme?
It will bring men and women between 17 and 21 into the program. Indian Express today (June 18) has reported that all the three wings of the armed forces are ready to get into the recruitment process. The Newspaper also said that as one-time age relaxation, this year, the upper age is raised to 23.
The entitled candidates can apply to their desirable categories—Agniveers’ educational qualifications for becoming a General Duty (GD) soldier is Class 10 passed.
Agnipath: Is it possible that girls are eligible for Agneepath Entry?
Girls under the age limit can enter, even though there is no reservation for women.
How much is the salary package under this scheme?
The 1st year salary package can be as high as Rs 4.76 lakh. The package will have an enhancement of 6.92 lakhs at the end of the 4th year. The non-contributory insurance cover is worth a lot (Rs. 48 Lakhs). In addition, the skill certificate will help in post-service job opportunities. In addition, they will get around 12 Lakhs. The amount will be tax-free.
Agnipath: Nationwide impact:
The government announcement of the scheme caused widespread resentment across the country. The protest has assumed an alarming situation in Bihar. Reports of Indian Express show that Protestors had burnt two coaches in little known Gopalgunj station of Bihar.
In Northern states like Haryana, Protestors injured 15 police personnel and damaged govt vehicles.
Agnipath: Merit of scheme
On the one hand, the Government claims the scheme would enrich our armed forces with a healthy blend of young blood and experience. But job aspirants claim a dark future in the event of dismissal in a short-term service scheme. Moreover, they apprehended that the minimum educational qualification for the soldier is SSC. With such minimal education, it would be an uphill task for them to get a suitable or respectable job—the job aspirants apprehended out of the race in the competitive job market, especially in the post-service period.
The Government assures them that they will get priority in paramilitary forces. It has also announced a ten percent reservation for Agniveers exiting after a four-year stint in the Central Armed Police forces, Assam Rifles, Ministry Of Defence & Defence Public Sector Undertakings. But those whose performances remain outstanding on completion of four years would continue for the next fifteen-year term. But of the total takes, only twenty-five percent of candidates have retention on their merit and performance during their stipulated four years of service.
The mass population is raising eyebrows as the army faces a workforce shortage. But the Government is confident of introducing the new scheme to boost young blood into its ranks of the Nation’s defensive forces via Army, Airforce, and Navy.
The prevalent rule in Government departments to ensure merit in employees
FR 56 (J) and Rule 48 of the Central Civil Service (Pension) scheme are prevalent in civilian government jobs. As per FR 56, govt employees underperforming can be shown the exit door by voluntary retirement on completion of 55 years or 30 years of service, whichever is earlier. The Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) has defined specific parameters for VRS under FR 56. A good number of central government employees have already got VRS under FR 56.
The Government aims for self-reliance in the defense sector
Recently to make the country’s defense forces self-reliant and to increase the quality of the defense producer, the Government has implemented corporatization in the defense production sector, especially in Ordnance Factories. The employee of the Ordnance factories is currently under deemed deputation for two years in the DPSU. Therefore, they have a government employee status for at least the next two years.
These new DPSUs (Defence Public Sector Undertaking) have their genesis in the Ordnance Factory Board. OFB is now dissolved and re-named Directorate of Ordnance Service (Coordination and Service). All 41 Ordnance Factories across the country are in the ambit of DPSU.
The employees in Indian Ordnance Factories are in an uproar nowadays. Sources say that a chunk of the employee in Ordnance Factories has cleared the formidable barrier of open competitive examinations, many of whom through UPSC with a dream of a safe and secured government job. They are thinking out viable options. After completion of their deemed deputation, the picture of their government job status will be clear.
Incoming time will be the answer if government ventures bring up overall defense productivity or not.