In a massive move of the Government of India, it launched the Agnipath Scheme on the 14th of June for the benefit of those Indian youth who wish to serve in the Armed Forces. It is a recruitment scheme that seeks to recruit the country’s young individuals into the Armed Forces for a period of four years. The Agnipath scheme is open for both men and women.
The Agnipath scheme, after its implementation, also aims at lowering the age criteria of recruitment to reduce the pension bill. A major chunk of the defence budget was getting exhausted due to salaries and pensions. This was becoming a hurdle for the Defense Ministry to procure weapons.
The ministry aims at recruiting over 40,000 to 50,000 individuals into the armed forces annually. Those falling between the age group of 17.5-21 years will be eligible to apply. The recruited individuals will be called the ‘Agniveers.’ The recruitment of Agniveers will be conducted twice a year.
Training will be provided to the Agniveers for 6 months, after which they will be deployed into the armed forces (army, navy, air force) for the period of three and a half years. Out of the total recruited, only 25% of the Agniveers will be appointed to serve for another 15 years under the permanent commission.
The scheme won’t be covering officer-rank soldiers. Over the span of 4 years, the salary of Agniveers will be subjected to a slight rise every year. In the first year, a total of ₹ 30,000 will be paid to each Agniveer, ₹ 33,000 in the second year, ₹ 36,000 in the third year and ₹ 40,000 in the final year. 30% of their salary will go under the ‘Seva Nidhi’ scheme and 70% will be received in hand. At the end of four years, every Agniveer will be eligible for ₹ 11.71 lakh as tax free lump sum amount. The Agniveers will also receive life insurance cover of ₹ 48 lakh for four years. They will also be eligible for a payout of over ₹ 1 crore which will include pay for unserved tenure in case of death. Those recruited under permanent commission will not be considered for retirement benefits.
During the announcement of the Agnipath scheme, the officials said that the scheme will enhance the youthful profile of the Armed Forces and infuse it with ‘Josh’ and ‘Jazba’. It will also make the forces tech-savvy. The scheme also aims to bring down the average age profile of the Indian Armed forces by about 4-5 years.
After the completion of the 4 years, the Agniveers will not have pensions or any kind of ex-servicemen benefits. They will simply hold an experience of serving the country’s armed forces and will be considered simple civilians of the country. The experience, however, will add weightage to their resume.
The ‘Seva Nidhi’ that Agniveers will be entitled to will then help them financially to pursue their future dreams, especially those who come from the deprived sections of the society.