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Agnipath’ is a long pending reform; recruitment to go up to 1.25 lakh: Top Military Officer

Addressing a Tri Service press conference, Lt General Anil Puri informed that ‘Agnipath’ is a long pending reform which was even recommended by the Kargil review Committee. He further mentioned that recruitment of soldiers under the scheme will increase to over 1.25 lakh in next 4-5 years.

“In the next 4-5 years, our intake of soldiers will be 50,000-60,000, which will increase to 90,000 – 1 lakh subsequently. We’ve started small at 46,000 to analyse the scheme…and to build up infra capacity,” Additional Secretary Lt Gen Anil Puri, Department of Military Affairs (DMA) said.

“We want a mix of josh and hosh and that is why we wanted to reduce the age profile. The average age is 32 years at present and we want to reduce it as per the recommendations of the Kargil review committee and Arun Singh committee report,” Lt Gen Arun Puri said.

All three previous heads of Defence forces along with the former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) worked for 2 years for the scheme. They analyzed meticulous details of the scheme, the top military officer said.

On giving priority to Agniveers, he said, “The announcements regarding the reservations for ‘Agniveers’ announced by the different ministries and departments were pre-planned for solider recruited under Agnipath scheme.”

The ‘Agniveers’ would get the same allowance in areas like Siachen and other areas which are applicable to the regular soldiers serving at present. No discrimination against them in service conditions, Lt Gen Anil Puri further informed.

“No discrimination against them in service conditions,” he added. “This reform was long pending. We want to bring youthfulness and experience with this reform. Today, a large number of jawan are in their 30s and officers are getting command much later than in the past,” he added.

Notably, Agniveers’ will get a compensation for Rs 1 crore if he sacrifices his life in service of the nation.

Agniveers to enter in service by year end
By December first week, Indian Army will get the first batch of 25,000 ‘Agniveers’ and the second batch would be inducted around February 2023 making it 40,000, Lt Gen Bansi Ponappa said while addressing the Tri-service presser.

For the Indian Air Force (IAF), the registration process for the first batch of Agniveer will start from June 24 and from July 24 the phase 1 online examination process would begin.

“The first batch would be enrolled by December and training would commence by December 30, “ Air Marshal SK Jha said.

Notably, Indian Navy will welcome the first naval ‘Agniveers’ (both Men and Women) batch at the training establishment INS Chilka, Odisha by November this year.

“Both female and male Agniveers are allowed for this, “Vice Admiral Dinesh Tripathi said while adding that 30 women officers are currently sailing on different Indian Navy ships.

We have decided that the women recruited under Agnipath scheme will be deployed on warships also, he added.

Agnipath scheme at a glance

Under Agnipath recruitment policy, soldiers (between the ages of 17.5 years and 21 years) recruited in the defence forces will be inducted as ‘Agniveers’ – a distinct rank in the Armed Forces, different from any other existing rank.

Once selected, the aspirants will go through training for six months and then they will be deployed for three and a half years. During this period, they will be provided an attractive monthly package of Rs 30,000 per month with upgradation upto Rs 40,000 per month in 4th year.

After a four-year engagement period, up to 25% of each specific batch of Agniveers will be enrolled in regular cadre of the Armed Forces. Importantly, during this period, 30 percent of their salary will be set aside under a ‘Seva Nidhi’ programme, and the government will contribute an equal amount every month along with providing accrue interest.

At the end of the four-year period, Agniveer will be accorded Rs 11.71 lakh as a lump sum amount, which will be tax-free. Additionally, they will also get a Rs 48 lakh life insurance cover for the four years.

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