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Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024

Even before the demand of the allies, BJP was in the mood to change the Agneepath scheme, know the reason


New Delhi : Even before the new alliance partners raised concerns about the Agneepath scheme, the BJP government had indicated that the recruitment process could be changed. Senior leaders admitted that amendments could be made to increase employment opportunities for short service soldiers and even provide job reservations. Apart from political opposition, the scheme has not been easy to implement within the armed forces. The veteran community in particular has been vocal about the creation of a separate class of soldiers who lack the protection and financial security offered to regular personnel.

There is a shortage of more than 1.5 lakh soldiers in the armed forces

The armed forces are currently facing a shortage of more than 1.5 lakh soldiers, most of whom are from the Army itself. This gap is increasing because regular recruitment of soldiers has been stopped due to the Agneepath scheme. It is challenging to overcome this shortage soon due to lack of training capacity and annual recruitment limit. However, the official reason for the shortage of soldiers was stated to be the reduction in recruitment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why was the speed of recruitment of soldiers slow

Even after all restrictions were later lifted, the pace of entry remained slow. This is because Agnipath has become the only option to fill entry-level vacancies. With no change in the retirement age, the shortage has increased in the last two years. A possible solution to overcome this gap is to increase the recruitment of Agniveers in the Army after a service period of four years.

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This change can happen in Agnipath scheme

At present, the plan is to retain only 25 per cent of Agniveers in the army as regular soldiers. The rest of the soldiers will be given a pre-determined financial package on leaving the army. However, the government is ready to increase this recruitment depending on the needs of the armed forces. This increases the possibility that by the end of 2026, when the first batch completes its tenure, almost all Agniveers can be retained for regular service.

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The issue of financial security is also considered

Another contentious issue is the financial security provided to soldiers injured or martyred in battle. Irrespective of the scheme for inducting soldiers into the armed forces, there has been a demand to ensure parity in the benefits provided in case of battle casualties. The BJP government is considering changes in the Agneepath scheme primarily to address the shortage of over 1.5 lakh personnel in the Army.

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