This post is written by Sanchari Bhattacharjee, student of Christ University, Bangalore
The Agnipath scheme launched by the Ministry of Defence has taken the country by storm. With media houses reporting a multitude of news about the scheme, somewhere along the lines the public has lost the understanding of the scheme.
This article aims at neutrally understanding and analysing the Agnipath Scheme for the public who have been engulfed by a spectrum of views about it without even properly knowing about it.
What is the Agnipath Scheme 2022?
The Agnipath Scheme is a recruitment scheme for the military inclusive of all three i.e. Army, Navy and the Air Force. This was carefully constructed by the Ministry of Defence to bring about a new wave of soldiers into the military who will be given an opportunity to serve the country while also being provided with the chance of having a civilian life post it.
For whom is it and how is it beneficial?
The scheme enrols youth, who are termed as ‘’Agniveers’’ under this scheme, for a period of four years wherein they will be equipped with skills necessary to serve in the military. The youth are expected to come out as young men who have fought bravely and have learnt important life lessons as well as values to become better citizens of the nation.
What will be the process of recruitment and training?
The recruitment process will be based on merit as well as the selection will occur with a meticulous screening procedure throughout the country. There are individual selection centres for each of the wings of the Indian Military which will be used during the recruitment process. The four years of their tenure will include their period of training as well and they will be enrolled under the individual Service Act. The military plans at recruiting 46,000 Agniveers and it will be inclusive of women candidates who will be placed according to the needs of varied sectors of the military. The Agniveers will be trained rigorously to prepare them as strong soldiers of the Indian military in the existing training centres to ensure uniformity in the training of the regular cadre and the Agniveers. They will be given the opportunity to serve in varied landforms and terrains.
What are the financial covers in this scheme?
At the first year, the per annum package amounts to Rs. 4.6 lakhs and by the end of the four year tenure, it will be increased to approximately Rs. 6.92 lakhs. They will also be provided with allowances to cover their travel, food, clothing and risks during the tenure to provide them with added stability financially along with their salaries. While indeed four years seem to be quite a small tenure, the Government of India plans on furnishing the Agniveers with a ‘’Seva Nidhi’’ package where they will be provided with a corpus of Rs. 11.1 lakhs and will be exempted from the the Income Tax Department of India.
While being an Agniveer comes with its fair share of threats to life, this scheme takes care of the family of the Agniveer in the passing of the soldier during service by the provision of a life insurance cover of Rs. 48 lakhs. They will also be given an ex gratia of Rs.44 lakhs for the death occured while service as well as the remaining of their salary alongside the Seva Nidhi package.
During the tenure of their service, if an Agniveer ends up with a disability, they are liable to compensation in accordance with the medical authorities. The percentage of the disability will determine the compensation amount i.e. a 50% disability will be compensated by the provision of Rs. 15 lakhs, 75% disability will see a compensation sum of Rs. 25 lakhs and a 100% disability will be compensated by an amount of Rs. 44 lakhs.
What are the provisions for the Agniveers at the end of the tenure?
At the end of the four years, the Agniveers will be furnished with a Skill Gained Certificate as well as the Seva Nidhi Package. At the end of the four years, 25% of the Agniveers will be enrolled into the fabric of the military. The 25% absorbed into the regular cadre will be have changes in their payment structures and will be provided with the pension as for the regular cadre.
What are the eligibility criterion to enter the recruitment process?
The candidates are required to be in the age group of 17.5 years to 23 years.
What are the pros and cons of this scheme?
Every scheme rolled out by the government has its own fair share of pros and cons.
The positives of this scheme is that it gives the youth of the nation to contribute significantly in the process of building a safe nation as well as get the opportunity to be trained by professionals with exceptional credentials. It also provides youngsters with a sound financial package so as to help them build themselves at the end of the tenure. It also provides the military with the breath of fresh and young talent who have the capabilities to learn as well as become adept to newer technologies with much ease.
This scheme howsoever leaves the Agniveers a little doubtful of their lives post their service because they serve the nation during their prime years of education necessary for a career forward. It is also assumed that it may leave a large number of adolescents unemployed without any career building skills except for their experience on the war field. It is also argued that a regular soldier receives a training of about seven to eight years whereas these Agniveers will be trained and deployed all within the four year tenure which is an important concern.
The above details of the scheme pretty much clears out the cloud in the minds of the public who have been bombarded with opinions ever since the announcement of the scheme. There is no disagreement with the fact that the scheme is not flawless but it is equally important for the citizens to understand the scheme and then follow through to analyse the cracks in it.