In the midst of the current controversy over the Agnipath initiative, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with the Chiefs of the Army, Navy, and Air Force at his official residence on Tuesday to address the military recruiting programme. According to Republic TV, Navy Chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar and Air Force Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari came a bit early and spoke with the Prime Minister for around 30 minutes. Army Chief of Staff General Manoj Pande, on the other hand, subsequently attended the meeting, which ended at 6.38 p.m.
This comes only a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared the air about the initiative, claiming that while changes may appear unpopular at first, they benefit the country in the long term. The Prime Minister made the comments while speaking at a public gathering in Bengaluru, Karnataka. ‘Many reforms may appear controversial at first, but the nation will profit in the long term. Reforms lead us to new objectives and resolutions’, PM Modi made the remarks during a public meeting in Bengaluru on Monday.
Earlier in the day, the Tri-Services conducted another news conference to update the public on the initiative’s progress. The briefing, which was presided over by Lt Gen Anil Puri, Additional Secretary, Department of Military Affairs, underlined that the programme will not disrupt the military recruiting process and that the regimental procedure will stay same. ‘ The Aginpath concept balances three things: first, the armed services’ young profile; second, technically smart and adaptive personnel joining the Army; and third, making the individual future-ready,’ said Lt Gen Anil Puri during a press conference.
On June 19, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh hosted a discussion on the Agnipath programme at his house, with Tri-Services commanders in attendance. The conference, it was learned, was focused on securing a speedy deployment of the ‘Agnipath’ plan. This comes amid reports of violent protests in numerous Indian states, including Bihar, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh, over the Agnipath plan, with protesters citing worries over job security and pensions. Angry crowds opposing the Centre’s Agnipath yojana set trains on fire, vandalised railway stations, and blocked roadways.
The Agnipath scheme
Agniveers will be recruited on a short-term contract in the Army, Navy, and Air Force under the Agnipath plan. Almost 46,000 youngsters will be recruited under this plan by 2022, with the number of recruits set to increase by 5,000 every year.
Soldiers will be paid between Rs 30,000 and Rs 40,000 per month. The recruiting will start in 90 days, and beneficiaries would be eligible for rewards, medals, and insurance. The first four years will not be taken into account for calculating eventual pensionary payments under the system.
Based on merit, desire, and medical fitness, up to 25% of the regular cadre might be retained or re-enlisted after four years. The remaining 75% would be entitled for ‘Seva Nidhi’ packages for Rs 11-12 lakh, as well as skill certifications and bank loans for their second career.
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