‘Agnipath scheme’ will give rise to more disaffection in youth: BJP MP

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Questioning various provisions of the Centre’s ‘Agnipath’ scheme that envisages recruitment of army men on a short-term contractual basis, BJP MP Varun Gandhi Thursday said it will give rise to more disaffection among the youths and asked the government to make its stand clear, reported Press Trust of India (PTI).

Quoting a letter to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, PTI reported that Gandhi said “the young population has shared their questions and doubts with him about the radical changes in the soldiers’ recruitment process which also proposes that the 75 percent of the recruits under the scheme will retire after four years of service without pension.”

As 75 percent of army men will become “unemployed” after four years and their total numbers will keep rising every year, it will give a rise to more disaffection among the youth, Gandhi said.

He asked what will be the prospects for these retired army men when the corporate sector does not show much interest in hiring even the regular military personnel who retire after 15 years.

Four years of service will disrupt their education, and they will also face difficulties in getting another job or more education as they will be older than others with similar qualifications, he said, adding they will face financial hardship as well.

These army men with only six-month basic training may be a cause of disruption to the existing regimental formations, the Lok Sabha MP said.

As only 25 percent of the ‘Agniveers’ will continue after four years, the scheme will result in a waste of training costs and will prove to be an unnecessary burden on the defence budget, he has claimed in his letter to Singh.

The government should keep the interest of unemployed youth paramount and bring out various policy aspects of this initiative, he said.

The government on Tuesday unveiled a “transformative” scheme–“Agnipath”– for the recruitment of personnel in the Army, Navy and the Air Force largely on a four-year short-term contractual basis. Officials said this will bring in fitter and younger troops to deal with future security challenges facing the nation.

Sharing details during the launch, Singh had said, “Under the ‘Agnipath’ scheme, Indian youth will be provided an opportunity to serve in the armed forces as ‘Agniveer’. This scheme has been brought to strengthen the security of the country. It is a transformative scheme.” — PTI

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