Chief ministers of several states where the BJP is in power have promised preference in jobs to those who serve the armed forces under the short-term Agnipath recruitment scheme. This came amid protests by army aspirants against four-year contractual
Chief Ministers of several states where the BJP is in power have promised preference in jobs to those who serve the armed forces under the short-term Agnipath recruitment scheme. This came amid protests by army aspirants against four-year contractual hiring of soldiers, announced by the BJP-led central government on June 14.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath urged the protesting young men not to fall for “anyone’s deceptions”. In his tweet in Hindi, he said the scheme “will give a new dimension to your life”, adding, “We will give preference to Agniveers in police and other services.” He had made this commitment earlier but reiterated it in light of the protests.
आदरणीय प्रधानमंत्री जी के मंशानुरूप ‘अग्निपथ योजना’ युवाओं को राष्ट्र व समाज की सेवा हेतु तैयार करेगी, उन्हें गौरवपूर्ण भविष्य का अवसर प्रदान करेगी। @UPGovt आश्वस्त करती है कि ‘अग्निवीरों’ को सेवा के उपरांत पुलिस व पुलिस के सहयोगी बलों में समायोजित करने में प्राथमिकता दी जाएगी।
— Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) June 16, 2022
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced these recruits will be given priority in the state police recruitment.
The government plans to hire men and women in the age bracket of 17.5 to 21 under the scheme, which carries no pensionary benefits. Up to 25 per cent of them may get regular commission for 15 years thereafter. Protesters are dissatisfied with the salary of around Rs 30,000 a month and the payout of around Rs 12 lakh when relieved after four years.
In Haryana, which too saw angry demonstrations in Palwal and Rewari among other places, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar tweeted a video message and declared similar preference for those not absorbed for regular service after the four-year contract.
मुख्यमंत्री श्री @mlkhattar ने अग्निपथ योजना के लिए प्रधानमंत्री श्री @narendramodi और रक्षा मंत्री श्री @rajnathsingh का आभार जताया। उन्होंने कहा इस योजना से सेना के माध्यम से देश सेवा के नए अवसर खुलेंगे। इस सेवा को पूरा करने वाले युवाओं को हरियाणा सरकार नौकरी में वरीयता देगी। pic.twitter.com/09kBYOvtsF
— CMO Haryana (@cmohry) June 15, 2022
Two northern hill states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand also saw such commitments from the chief ministers. Uttarakhand’s Pushkar Singh Dhami said the state’s association with the armed forces is “well known”.
Mr Dhami added, “Those who return after their four-year stint with the army will be given jobs in the police and the disaster management departments to make use of their discipline, skills, and military training.”
मुझे पूर्ण विश्वास है कि आने वाले समय में हमारे अग्निवीर, पराक्रम के परचम को और अधिक गौरव के साथ लहराएंगे। हमने तय किया है कि अग्निपथ के अंतर्गत सेवा के उपरांत #Agniveers को राज्य सरकार @uttarakhandcops, आपदा प्रबंधन, उपनल व अन्य सम्बंधित सेवाओं में प्राथमिकता प्रदान करेगी।
— Pushkar Singh Dhami (@pushkardhami) June 16, 2022
Among the northeastern states, Chief Ministers of Assam and Manipur promised preference to Agniveers in state government jobs, particularly in the police. Their counterparts in Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura also praised the scheme.
In a move which’ll make our armed forces more youthful, the Agnipath scheme will open the doors for the youth to join the country’s premier armed forces as #Agniveers
Agniveers returning from ‘Agnipath’ scheme will be given preference in the State Police/ MR/ IRB recruitment.
— N.Biren Singh (@NBirenSingh) June 15, 2022
The central government, too, has been announcing measures to address the anxieties of the aspirants. The Home Ministry tweeted that it has decided to give priority to Agniveers who complete four years for recruitment in CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces) and Assam Rifles.
However, in Bihar — which saw the first demonstrations against the scheme and continues to see blockading of roads by protesters — BJP’s ally Janata Dal (United) has sought a “rethink” on the scheme.
— Upendra Kushwaha (@UpendraKushJDU) June 16, 2022
Among opposition-ruled states, Congress chief ministers in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh have criticised the scheme. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has demanded that it be scrapped.
Many experts have been asking why the recruits would join the armed forces in the first place if they could directly build a career in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) or state police. Some aspirants that NDTV spoke to in Patna on Wednesday said they would now prepare for police recruitment as that has pension and other long-term prospects.
Under the old system, youths aged between 16.5 and 21 years were selected directly for a minimum of 15 years of service and got pension after retirement. One of the rationales being seen behind the Agnipath scheme is that it will reduce the salary and pension bill of the armed forces.
The government has tried to address the worry that Agniveers released after four years will be lagging in terms of education. It has announced a new three-year bachelor’s degree programme with lighter curriculum, in which half the credits required for the degree will come from skills received under the Agnipath scheme. However, only the curriculum is reduced, not the number of years for the degree.
Meanwhile, Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt General BS Raju has said this scheme will make the army younger and more tech-savvy. “I think, with this scheme, we will be ready to fight the future wars.”