AS THE protests and agitations against the Agnipath recruitment scheme continue in several parts of the country, Lt General Anil Puri, Additional Secretary, Department of Military Affairs, on Sunday clarified the scheme will be implemented and there is no question of a rollback.
Lt General Puri was addressing a Joint military briefing on Agnipath recruitment scheme with Air Marshal S K Jha, Vice Admiral Dinesh Tripathi and LG C Bansi Ponnappa.
The Army Navy and the Air Force on Sunday came out with a broad schedule for recruitment of soldiers under the ‘Agnipath’ scheme while asserting that it is being implemented to bring down the age profile of the Armed Forces.
Lt General A Puri, the Additional Secretary in the Department of Military Affairs, strongly defended the scheme,
saying that reducing the age profile of the three services has been on the table for quite some time and even the Kargil review committee had made observations on it.
At a press conference, Lt General Puri said the Government was going ahead with implementing the ‘Agnipath’ scheme and appealed to the youths to end their protest. Referring to the provisions of reservations in different Ministries, Lt General Puri said that announcements were pre-planned and not in reaction to the arson and agitation which took place after the ‘Agnipath’ scheme announcement. He also clarified that all recruitment will be through ‘Agnipath’ scheme only. “Around 17,600 people are taking premature retirement from the three Services every year. No one ever tried to ask them what they will do after retirement,” Puri said. He also added that ‘Agniveers’ would get the same allowance in areas like Siachen and other areas which are applicable to the regular soldiers serving at present.
On the ongoing protest, Lt General Puri said, “Indian Army’s foundation is discipline. No space for arson, vandalism. Every individual will have to take a pledge that they were not part of protests or vandalism”.
Giving details of the Navy’s plan to induct ‘Agniveers’ under the scheme, Vice Admiral Dinesh Tripathi said the Naval Headquarters will come out with a broad guideline for the recruitment by June 25. The first batch of recruits will join the training programme by November 21, he said. He said the Navy is recruiting both men and women as ‘Agniveers’ under the scheme.
About the Indian Air Force’s plan for induction of recruits under the Agnipath scheme, Air Marshall S K Jha said the registration process will start on June 24 and the process for online examination for phase one of the recruitment will begin on July 24.
“We are planning to start the training for the first batch of recruits by December 30,” Air Marshall Jha said.
About the Army’s recruitment plan, Lt General Bansi Ponappa said the Army will issue a draft notification on Monday and subsequent notifications will be issued by various recruitment units of the force from July 1 onwards.
Recruitment rallies under the ‘Agnipath’ scheme will take place across India in August, September and October, he said.
Lt General Ponappa said the first batch comprising 25,000 personnel will join the training programme in the first and second week of December. The second lot of recruits will join their training around February 23.
He said a total of 83 recruitment rallies will be organised across the country to select around 40,000 personnel.