The scheme aims to enroll youths, who will be called ‘Agniveers‘, for a service duration of four years. After the completion of their tenure, 25% of Agniveeers will be retained or re-enlisted in the regular cadre while the remaining 75% will be demobilised with an exit package.
The protesters say the plan will limit opportunities for permanent jobs with the defence forces, which guarantee fixed salaries, pensions and other benefits.
While the Centre has explained that the youths will get a generous exit package (Rs 11.71 lakh) after four years and priority in government services (read CAPFs, state police forces), the anti-Agnipath protesters remain unconvinced.
In an effort to quell the unrest, the Centre has introduced several changes to the new model since the initial announcement. Here’s a look at them …
Rajnath Singh approves reservation for Agniveers
Union defence minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday approved a proposal to reserve 10% of the job vacancies in ministry of defence for ‘Agniveers’ meeting requisite eligibility criteria.
“The 10% reservation will be implemented in the Indian Coast Guard and defence civilian posts, and all the 16 Defence Public Sector Undertakings. This reservation would be in addition to existing reservation for ex-servicemen,” the ministry said on Twitter.
Raksha Mantri Shri @rajnathsingh has approved a proposal to reserve 10% of the job vacancies in Ministry of Defence… https://t.co/dYjN2SLgv8
— रक्षा मंत्री कार्यालय/ RMO India (@DefenceMinIndia) 1655543269000
“Necessary amendments to relevant recruitment rules will be undertaken to implement these provisions. Defence Public Sector Undertakings will be advised to make similar amendments to their respective recruitment rules. Necessary age relaxation provision will also be made,” another tweet posted on Saturday read.
10% reservation for Agniveers in CAPF, Assam Rifles
The Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) earlier on Saturday announced a 10% quota as well as upper age limit relaxation for Agniveers for recruitment in the Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPFs) and Assam Rifles, after they complete their four-year stint.
Relaxation of upper age limit for Agniveers
On Saturday, the MHA had also announced a three-year age relaxation beyond the prescribed upper age limit for Agniveers for recruitment in CAPF and Assam Rifles.
According to the announcement, the upper age limit for the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) – inclusive of Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), National Security Guard (NSG) and Special Protection Group (SPG) – will now stand at 26 years.
Age relaxation for first Agniveer batch
Further, the first batch of Agniveers will avail a relaxation of five years beyond the upper age limit of 23, taking it to 28 years.
The latest set of announcements by the MHA are aimed at 75% of the Agniveers who will be demobilised after serving in the armed forces for four years.
Upper age limit relaxed to 23
Earlier on Thursday, the government had increased the upper-age limit for recruitment under the Agnipath scheme to 23 years from 21 years for the year 2022.
“Cognisant of the fact that it has not been possible to undertake the recruitment during the last two years, the government has decided that a one-time waiver shall be granted for the proposed recruitment cycle for 2022,” according to a statement issued by the defence ministry.
“Accordingly, the upper age limit for the recruitment process for Agnipath scheme for 2022 is increased to 23 years,” the statement said.
Amit Shah announced priority for Agniveers
A day after the scheme was announced, Union home minister Amit Shah had on Wednesday announced that his ministry has decided to give priority to ‘Agniveers’ who have completed four years under the ‘Agnipath’ scheme in the recruitment of the CAPFs and Assam Rifles.
Shah said a “detailed planning” work has been started in MHA following the decision.
Shah took Twitter to make the announcement while welcoming the said scheme.
(With inputs from agencies)