Saturday, June 22, 2024

Army mulls raising tenure of Agniveers

NEW DELHI, JUNE 9: Following recommendations from senior Army officers, discussions are on within the force to raise the minimum service tenure of Agniveers from 4 years to 7-8 years and retain 60-70% of them permanently. The recommendations were sent around 3 months back for the ongoing review of the Agniveer scheme.
The analysis of the feedback collected from all formations and senior officers is aimed at ensuring that the Agniveer induction does not lead to functional issues with a decline in “operational efficiency”.
A source confirmed that recommendations included “increasing the retention percentage, raising the induction age for those in technical grades to 23 years, sanctioning ex-gratia for a disability developed during training, exit management under a professional agency and a subsistence allowance to a family of Agniveer killed in action.”
The entire exercise has aimed to bring down the pension bill and maintain a youthful profile of the force.
The feedback includes the lack of on-the-job training, seen as “leading to inexperience and inadequate expertise”, said a source. “Adversaries on northern (China) and western (Pakistan) sectors are increasing their synergies and jointness. So, the time is right to make amendments in the scheme”, said an Army officer. Sources pointed out that the experience issue can be resolved with a little tweak.
The Agniveer’s 4-year fixed service, instead of leading to cohesion to perform as a unit, is seen as leading to competition to prove one’s employability as a permanent soldier.
The previous training period was for 11 months instead of 6. The service period for the soldiers is counted from the day they start their training.
Reservations of parties, including those in NDA
Several parties, including those in the NDA, have raised their reservations against the scheme. Public representatives have raised socio-cultural concerns saying released Agniveers trained to handle arms and explosives “may be amenable to exploitation” due to dissatisfaction.
(Courtesy: TNIE)