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Agnipath scheme UPSC NOTE

 What is the Agnipath scheme?

  • The Agnipath scheme for recruitment of soldiers, sailors and airmen into the three services was announced on June 14, 2022 doing away with the earlier process of permanent recruitment. 

  • Under the new scheme, Agniveers are recruited for four years on the completion of which, up to 25% would be selected into the regular ranks on a permanent basis

  • The age bracket for new recruits was fixed at 17 and a half to 21 years of age and till 2026 the overall intake has been capped at 1.75 lakh

  • Subsequently, the Army is inducting 40,000 Agniveers per year and the Navy and Air Force are recruiting around 3,000 Agniveers each

  • Agniveers during their tenure can get class 12 certificates or a Bachelor’s degree in addition to other skill certificates and when leaving after four years will get a lump sum amount but are not eligible for pension

  • The government has stated that the Agnipath scheme would bring down the average age of the armed forces from 32 to 26 years in line with the age profile of major armies worldwide

  • And that when Agniveers return to society, they will contribute to nation-building.

What are the concerns?

  • One of the biggest concerns for the armed forces, especially the Army, is the accentuating shortage of personnel in the ‘below the officer’s rank’ cadres

  • There was no recruitment during the COVID-19 period for over two and half years which created a deficiency

  • For context, around 60,000 soldiers retire from the Army every year, while 40,000 are being recruited every year

  • So effectively the shortage is adding on year by year. 

  • Additionally, the low conversion rate of 25% from Agniveers to regular soldiers is going to further accentuate the shortfall

  • Given the short duration of four years, the training schedules have also been compressed accordingly.

  • With the huge demand for recruitment into the Army in some parts of the country, the scheme became a political issue as well as a campaign issue during the election

  • The country was rocked by violent protests when the scheme was announced. 

  • Several parties have demanded that it either be scrapped or the concerns addressed

What is the current status?

  • Department of Military Affairs (DMA) in the Defence Ministry headed by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) said, it is in line with the regular practice in the armed forces of reviewing any major scheme introduced or any weapon platform inducted to make required changes based on a detailed assessment.

  • Broadly, recommendation for enhancing intake numbers, increasing the permanent recruitment from 25% to at least 50% are among the suggestions

  • Also, there is a proposal to increase the age limit for entry though the technical route from 21 to 23 years to attract enough technically qualified individuals. This is not a new proposal but also existed in the recruitment process earlier.

  • Defence officials have stated that Navy and Air Force have compiled the feedback to be sent to the DMA

  • However, the Army is still in the process of compilation and will take some more time, multiple officials confirmed. 

  • The DMA will compile all the recommendations and send it to the Defence Ministry.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Agnipath scheme UPSC NOTE
Agnipath scheme UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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