The Agneepath Scheme (2022) of the Indian Defence System

  • It has been introduced for the recruitment of non-commissioned officers (NCO) in the Indian defence forces and applies to all three wings i.e. army, navy, and the air force.
  • The age bracket for enlisting soldiers will now be 17.5 to 21 years under this scheme.
  • The selected candidates will be called Agniveers and will get to serve in the defence services for a tenure of four years.
  • The recruits will be trained for an initial period of 6 months, post which they will assume their posts and responsibilities in the defence forces.
  • After serving their four-year tenure, these soldiers will retire. However, not all the Agniveers will be let go, about 25% of the retiring batch will be retained and they will continue to serve in the Indian defence.
  • The starting salary will be 30,000/month and will go up to 40,000/month by the end of their service period.
  • Post retirement, these soldiers will get a seva-nidhi package—a retirement package—of eleven lakh seventy-one thousand Rupees (₹11,71,000), half of which will be comprised by a part of their monthly salary, and the remaining half will be borne by the government. 30% of their salary will go to this retirement fund every month an equal amount of which will be chipped in by the govt towards this package that they will receive after serving their tenure.
  • These Agniveers will not be provided with a pension.
  • Recruitments will happen twice every year. The government aims to recruit about 46000 soldiers this year, and a total of 50,000 soldiers from the next year onward will be recruited under this scheme.
  • The government shall also provide a certificate to these Agniveers—equivalent to a Class 12 certificate, or a diploma, whichever is suited—that will even help them get bank loans approved on easy terms if they so need
  • These recruitments will happen on a merit basis and the regiment system of the colonial times shall be done away with.
The Debate:-
                                        For                                             Against
  • This is a golden chance for those youngsters who wish to serve in the army but not for 20 long years
  • The ballooning pension bills need to be curbed, and this is one way to do it. (Only those 25% of the soldiers who are retained will then retire after 20 years will full health benefits and a retirement pension)
  • This will reduce the average age of the Indian army, making it younger, fitter, and better equipped to handle the on-field challenges
  • These youngsters will not have enough training and that could affect their performance on the battleground, and with two active borders—the LAC and the LOC—and an unstable eastern Ladakh border, this is not a risk India can afford
  • These retired youngsters—trained in arms—that are inducted back into the civil society will have no relevance of the training they received during their tenure in the army, making it difficult for them to obtain jobs
  • How can it be decided in just 4 years who are good enough to be retained? 4 years is too short a time for such an assessment

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