The army, navy and air force announced a broad schedule for the recruitment of Agniveers on Sunday, as senior officials rejected any plans to cancel the scheme despite large-scale protests across the country.
Speaking at a news conference, Anil Puri, an additional secretary at the Ministry of War, said the number of Agnipath recruits would rise to 1.25 lakh in the coming years. “Over the next four to five years, the admission (of soldiers) will increase to 50,000-60,000 and subsequently increase to 90,000-1 lakh. The intake of Agniveers will increase to 1.25 lakh in the near future and will not remain at 46,000, “he said.
Infusion of youth
He stressed that the scheme is being implemented to reduce the average age profile and add youth to the three services. Calling it a “progressive step”, he said the scheme was introduced after years of discussion, and even a high-level commission on the 1999 Cargill war made remarks on the issue. He added that the support measures announced by various ministries and departments in the last few days for the post-official Agniveers were planned in advance and not in response to protests and arson.
Providing details of the Navy’s plan to enlist Agniveers under the scheme, Vice Admiral Dinesh Tripati said the Navy headquarters will come up with general recruitment guidelines by June 25th. The first batch of recruits will report on the INS Chilka training program in Odisha by November 21, he said, stressing that the Navy is recruiting both men and women under the scheme.
Similarly, the Indian Air Force will issue a notification and begin the registration process for the first batch of Agniveers on June 24, said Air Marshal SK Jha, adding that the process for the online phase one exam will begin on July 24. the first batch of recruits will start on December 30.
The military, on the other hand, will issue a draft notification on Monday, Lt. Gen. Bansi Ponapa said, adding that follow-up notifications would be issued by all recruiting offices from July 1st. the country begins in August and lasts until September, October and November, he said. The first batch, which includes about 25,000 employees, will join the training centers in the first few weeks of December, and the second batch will join their training around February 23, he added. The military will hold 83 recruitment rallies across the country to attract about 40,000 recruits to the scheme.
Speaking about the ongoing protests, Lieutenant General Anil Puri said: “There is no room for indiscipline in the armed forces. There is no room for arson and vandalism. Anyone who wants to be part of the armed forces under the Agnipath scheme will have to promise not to take part in the protest and vandalism. No one can join the armed forces without a police check. He also called on candidates to start preparing for physical tests.
Meanwhile, several senior congressional leaders, including Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, took part in a satiagram in support of protesters against the Jantar Mantar scheme in New Delhi.
June 19, 2022