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3 Corps GoC expounds on Agnipath scheme

Nagaland News

DIMAPUR, JUNE 15: Major General RS Guraya, VSM, Chief of Staff HQ 3 Corps, on Wednesday stated that the announcement of the Agnipath Scheme on June 14 by the Government of India has nothing to do with the bringing down of the defense expenditure in the long run in terms of ballooning pensions and other expenditures on retired army persons but instead in the short term things can get more expensive with the introduction of the scheme.
Interacting with media persons here at Rangapahar Military Station (RMS), Dimapur, Major Guraya said that while there are differences in opinions, change is the law of nature and called the scheme transformational. He, however, mentioned the possibilities of mid-course corrections.
Briefing media persons about the scheme, he said that the scheme will shape patriotic and motivated youths (Agniveers) and enhance the diversity in the army, adding that presently, out of the 775 districts in the country, 70% of the jawans come from only 168 districts.
According to the scheme, he explained, persons between the age of 17 years 6 months and 21 years can enrol in the army, and after 4 years, all of the Agniveers will exit the service with a Seva Nidhi of Rs 11.71 lakhs in their accounts. However, they can opt for enrolment in the armed forces as regular cadres and up to 25% of them can be absorbed at a time. Major Guraya cleared that there will be no provision of pensions.
According to him, the implementation of the scheme will improve the quality of society with the armed forces giving disciplined, skilled, financially strong youths back to the society who can be easily absorbed.
He said that with its implementation, in the next 7 to 8 years, the average age of the army personnel will come down from 32 years to 26 years. Also, the Agniveers will have lesser number of months in training and 30 leaves per annum against the earlier 60 leaves.
The scheme is expected to lead to more youthful and technically adept war fighting force by ensuring a fine balance between youthful and experienced personnel in the armed forces.
The Agniveers will get a monthly salary of Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 and the Seva Nidhi exit package, half of which will be through their own contributions, will be tax-free. The Agnipath scheme will also be “progressively opened” for women based on service requirements.
There have been, however, mixed responses even among the armed forces veterans to the scheme and criticism starting from the fear of dilution of military ethos to militarization of society with a large number of combat-trained youth being rendered jobless every year.
Further, with the introduction of the scheme, those youths who had cleared different stages of the recruitment processes in the armed forces two years ago across the country, after which, owing to the pandemic and formulation of the scheme, no recruitment was done, their fate is in a state of confusion for now.
(Page News Service)

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