The announcement by the Union home ministry came as violent protests rocked the nation against the new scheme.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh chaired a top-level meet with service chiefs at his residence in Delhi amid continuing protests over the scheme.
Here is a look at other top developments in the story:
Train services hit in Bihar
Railways has cancelled as many as 241 passenger trains either originating from ECR stations or passing through its jurisdiction on Saturday.
Railways took this decision following largescale violence and arson incidents due to the Agnipath scheme stir on Friday in which 60 coaches and 10 locomotives were burnt in Bihar.
Sporadic violent incidents were reported at different places falling under Danapur division of the East Central Railway (ECR) for the fourth consecutive day during the Bihar bandh call on Saturday.
Overall, the Railways cancelled 369 trains on Saturday due to the agitation. These include 210 mail/express and 159 local passenger trains.
The Railways has also partially cancelled two mail/express trains, thus the total number of trains affected during the day is 371, the officials said.
“To ensure safety and security of passengers and railway property, trains originating in other zones will ply through ECR only after 8pm on Saturday and continue till 4am on Sunday. Movement of such trains will be restored at 8pm on Sunday,” said ECR Chief Public Relations Officer Virendra Kumar.
10% quota, upper age relaxation for Agniveers: Amit Shah
The Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) 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.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) decides to reserve 10% vacancies for recruitment in CAPFs and Assam Rifles for Agniveers.
— गृहमंत्री कार्यालय, HMO India (@HMOIndia) 1655522795000
Home minister Amit Shah tweeted, “The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) decides to reserve 10% vacancies for recruitment in CAPFs and Assam Rifles for Agniveers”. “The MHA also decides to give 3 years age relaxation beyond the prescribed upper age limit to Agniveers for recruitment in CAPFs & Assam Rifles.
The MHA also decides to give 3 years age relaxation beyond the prescribed upper age limit to Agniveers for recruitm… https://t.co/KLviz4pUYM
— गृहमंत्री कार्यालय, HMO India (@HMOIndia) 1655522796000
Further, for the first batch of Agniveer, the age relaxation will be for 5 years beyond the prescribed upper age limit,” another tweet by minister Shah stated.
10% reservation for ‘Agniveers’ in defence posts: Rajnath
Rajnath Singh has approved a proposal to reserve 10% of the job vacancies in ministry of defence for ‘Agniveers’ meeting requisite eligibility criteria.
The announcement was made on the official Twitter handle of the defence minstry.
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.
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.
Scheme rolled out after wide-ranging consultations: Rajnath
As protests against the Centre’s new scheme intensified, defence minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday chaired a meeting with service chiefs at his residence in Delhi.
The meeting was attended by Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar and Vice Chief of Army Staff Gen B S Raju.
Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande could not attend the meeting as he is in Hyderabad on an official tour.
The Army, Navy and the Air Force on Friday announced to start the enrolment process under the new model by next week.
Rajnath has said that the new scheme was rolled out after wide-ranging consultations including with the ex-servicemen and suggested that a “misunderstanding” is being spread for political reasons.
He added that the scheme was rolled out after around two years of deliberations and will bring revolutionary changes in the enrolment process of the soldiers.
Plea in apex court seeks SIT for probe into violence
A plea has been moved in Supreme Court to seek setting up of a Special Investigation Team to probe into the violent protests against Centre’s new scheme.
Furthermore, the plea seeks to enquire about the damage caused to public property including that of railways.
Violence-hit Secunderabad under tight security
Train services at Secunderabad railway station in Hyderabad were resumed, a senior official of the South Central Railway confirmed on Saturday.
The development came a day after the arson and violence at the station resulted in the death of a protester aspiring to join the armed forces.
Train operations originating from the station were cancelled or partially cancelled and they resumed subsequently later in the evening.
Due to ongoing agitation eight more trains including six originating from different cities of West Bengal and two originating from cities in Bihar have been cancelled today, the authorities confirmed on Saturday.
Security deployed at crucial spots in Bihar
Violent anti-Agnipath protests rocked Bihar for the fourth consecutive day on Saturday, with agitators torching vehicles parked on the premises of a police outpost in Jehanabad district, officials said.
A large number of protestors gathered outside Tehta police outpost around 8.30am and started pelting security personnel with stones. Later, they set several vehicles, including a bus and a truck, on fire, they said.
Security was beefed up in some crucial areas, with internet services being snapped in Kaimur, Bhojpur, Aurangabad, Rohtas, Buxar, Nawada, West Champaran, Samastipur, Lakhisarai, Begusarai, Vaishali and Saran districts, as per an official order.
“Eighty people have been identified so far. Others involved in violence are being identified through video footage,” said Abhinav Dhiman, ASP, Danapur.
Vandalism incidents in the railway premises have led to losses of over Rs 200 crore – 50 coaches & 5 engines were completely burnt, platforms, computers & various technical parts were also damaged.
Massive protest rally in Kerala
Hundreds of youth on Saturday took out a massive protest march against the Centre’s decision to implement the new Agnipath scheme for the recruitment of soldiers, airmen and sailors.
Large number of army job aspirants, gathered at Thampanoor, in the morning and marched to Raj Bhavan, the official residence of Governor Arif Mohammed Khan.
They could be seen raising slogans against the Union government’s new military recruitment scheme and holding placards and banners urging the authorities to withdraw their decision at the earliest.
Meanwhile, protesters damaged public property in Ludhiana as protesting youths were detained near the War Memorial in Chennai.
The Delhi-Jaipur highway was also reportedly blocked after protests turned violent in Rajasthan’s Alwar district.
Agnipath scheme directionless: Sonia Gandhi
Congress president Sonia Gandhi Saturday termed “directionless” the Centre’s ‘Agnipath’ scheme for recruitment in the armed forces,
She said her party will work for its withdrawal and also appealed to the youths protesting against the scheme to adopt peaceful and non-violent means to fight for their demands.
“It is unfortunate that the government has announced a new armed forces’ recruitment policy, which is completely directionless and it has done so while ignoring your voices,” she said in a statement in Hindi, addressed to the youths.
PM will have to become ‘maafiveer’, says Rahul
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took a dig at the prime minister and said that just as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to withdraw the farm laws, he will have to accept the demand of the youth and rollback the Agnipath defence recruitment scheme.
In a tweet in Hindi, Rahul Gandhi said, “I had said earlier also that the prime minister will have to withdraw the black farm laws.”
“In the same manner, he will have to accept the demand of the youth of the country by becoming ‘maafiveer’ and take back the ‘Agnipath’ scheme,” he said.
(With inputs from agencies)