India’s military recruitment plan is fueling anger and protests

NEW DELHI – Thousands of young Indians took to the streets in angry demonstrations on Friday, blocking trains and setting fire to wagons and tires in protest of a government spending cut that they say will shatter their dreams of safer military work.

The protests began on Tuesday after the prime minister’s government Narendra Modi announced changes in the way it will recruit new members of the armed forces. By Friday, the demonstrations had turned violent and spread to many states and the capital, New Delhi.

At least one person was killed and several others were injured. The casualties occurred in the southern state of Telangana after police opened fire to disperse the crowds, according to hospital and witnesses.

The government has described the moves as essential to making the country’s armed forces “younger, more capable” and “more diverse”, but many experts say they are aimed at cutting the country’s defense budget. more than the half of which are spent on salaries and pensions.

Under new system46,000 people between the ages of 17 and a half to 21 will enroll this year to serve for four years. Then up to 25 percent of them would have the right to pursue a longer military career. The rest will receive a small pay at the end of their service, but without a pension.

Hundreds of thousands of young people looking for a secure job in a long-term military career saw the message as a new blow to their dreams.

“What are we going to do in four years?” Who will give us a job? “Said 23-year-old Prince Raj, who is from the eastern state of Bihar and hopes to become a soldier.” Our protests will continue until the government accepts our demands.

Protesters called on the government to repeal the new plan altogether and instead maintain the same policy with a career perspective of two decades and a pension at the end. “We spend three to four years preparing to be elected and then work for four years, that’s not fair, “said Pankaj Pundir, 17, of the Muzafarnagar district of northern Uttar Pradesh.

The growing discontent among young people in India is a result of rising unemployment, in an economy that is struggling to make hundreds of millions work in recent years. Economists have long warned slow pace of job creationeven in the coronavirus pandemic pushed millions of educated middle-class Indians to poverty.

Hundreds of candidates for railway jobs this year burned wagons in the state of Bihar in protest of what they said Mr. Unfair practices for hiring Modi. More than 12 million people have applied for 35,281 jobs.

In recognition of the unemployment problems, Mr. This week, Modi ordered his government to hire a million people in vacant government posts within 18 months.

“Announcing a million jobs is good, but it will only fill the vacancies,” said Jayan Jose Thomas, an economist and professor at the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi. “Given India’s demographic structure, unless we can create more jobs, this kind of protest will continue to happen.”

As the protests spread, reaching many areas in at least six Indian states on Friday, Mr. This was announced by the Modi government some discounts. This will raise the upper age limit for recruits to 23, which will allow those who missed the opportunity to be hired in the last two years during the pandemic to apply.

However, the concessions did little to calm anger in the streets and stations of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh. The protests quickly spread to other parts of India on Friday, including New Delhi and the states of Odisha, West Bengal, Punjab and Jharkhand.

In Bihar, which has witnessed intense protests over the past few days, hundreds of protesters armed with sticks vandalized train stations and set fire to wagons on Friday. Furious crowds blocked the railway tracks, burning tires and vehicles on them.

Similar scenes took place in Uttar Pradesh, where protesters destroyed trains, buses and shops. Hundreds of protesters, mostly men in their 20s, took to the streets and shouted slogans in the Chandauli district.

In the state of Telangana, police and firefighters tried to extinguish a burning car on a train set on fire by a mob. Tensions remain high in Haryana, where authorities cut off the internet on Thursday and Friday to prevent protests from spreading.

Many protesters said they were disappointed with the recent recruitment plan, which does not offer job guarantees after four years of strict service.

“We will be expelled in four years,” said Lovejinder Singh, a young army candidate in Hariana State. local news media, explaining that he has been training for the last seven years to be considered for a slot. “What will these 75 percent of people do?”

Ranjit Kumar, a former Indian Army soldier who runs a training academy of 100 army candidates in Bihar, said protesters were also disappointed with the delay in the recruitment process. Their demands, he said, were justified.

And, he said, one thing is clear: “They are not interested in joining the army in four years. They want to join the army for a full term.

The protests came as India faced a situation it had feared for nearly two decades: a conflict on two fronts with hostile neighbors, China and Pakistan – both nuclear. The Indian and Chinese military are blocked border dispute in the Himalayas for more than two years.

India has one of the largest armies in the world, recruiting tens of thousands each year. Military experts say one way to run such a large army is still affordable defense equipment updates is to hire people on short-term contracts.

But the jobs themselves need to be made “attractive” both during and after years of service, said HS Panag, a retired lieutenant general who has served in the Indian Army for nearly four decades. They also don’t have to look ‘exploitative’, Mr. Panag added.

The government’s plan, announced on Tuesday, does not meet both points, he said. “It seems to be operational because they have not given all the incentives they are talking about, including ‘guaranteed guarantees’ for paramilitary recruitment.” The military service package would pay only about $ 15,000 in total, much less than what a soldier would do after about 15 years of service.

Economists say the government also urgently needs to focus on job creation. In addition to the defense sector, which employs more than 1.3 million people, other areas such as education and healthcare can employ hundreds of thousands of jobseekers, Professor Thomas said. “A very large part of the working age population is looking for work,” he said. “And they are looking for a regular job with safety that only government jobs provide.”

Mr. Raj, a candidate for the Bihar army, said the recent recruitment plan targets India’s most vulnerable. “Only poor families whose sons join the army and sacrifice their lives,” he said. “The sons of which politicians are sacrificing their lives in defense of the country?”

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.