Govt announces ‘Agnipath’ recruitment scheme for armed forces

NEW DELHI: According to the TOI, Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday unveiled the “Agnipath” scheme which aims to transform the armed forces.

This move comes in a bid to slash the ballooning salary and pension bills, amid major concerns the move will adversely impact the professionalism, military ethos and fighting spirit of the over 14-lakh strong armed forces.

Agnipath scheme will see around 45,000 youngsters in the age group of 17.5 to 21 being annually inducted into the armed forces for a four-year duration, which will include six months of basic training, with a monthly salary of Rs 30,000-40,000 and allowances. 

They will be entitled to awards, medals and insurance cover like the regular cadre of soldiers, airmen and sailors. 

After four years, only 25% of the “Agniveers” will be retained or re-enlisted in the regular cadre based on merit, willingness and medical fitness. 

They will then serve for a full term of another 15 years. The first four years, served under a contract, are not likely to be taken into consideration for the fixation of the final pensionary benefits.

The other 75% Agniveers will be demobilized, with an exit or “Seva Nidhi” package of Rs 11-12 lakh, partly funded by their monthly contributions, as well as skill certificates and bank loans for help in their second careers.

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