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Amid massive protest across India, the Indian Armed Forces- Army, Navy and the Air Force- on Sunday announced a broad schedule for recruitment of soldiers under the Agnipath scheme. 

The move asserted that the short term contractual scheme- Agnipath- is being implemented to bring down the age profile of the armed forces.

Lt General Anil Puri, the additional secretary in the Department of Military Affairs, strongly defended the scheme, saying that reducing the age profile of the three services has been on the table for quite some time and even the Kargil review committee had made observations on it.

At a press conference, Lt Gen Puri said the government was going ahead with implementing the Agnipath scheme and appealed to the youths to end their protest.

What is Agnipath scheme

Agnipath Scheme is a new scheme introduced by the Government of India on 14 June 2022, for recruitment of soldiers below the rank of commissioned officers into the three services of the armed forces.

Soldiers recruited under this scheme will be known as Agniveers.

The recruits will serve for a tenure of four years that includes training for six months followed by 3.5 years deployment.

 After retirement from the service, they will have the opportunity to apply to continue in the armed forces and up to 25 percent of the Agniveers will be selected for the permanent cadre.[13] Personnel who retire after 4 years of service will not be eligible for pension, but will receive a lump sum amount of approximately 11.71 lakh at the end of tenure.

As per terms and conditions issued by Indian Army for Agniveers, they would be entitled to honours and awards, as per extant guidelines governing the subject for Indian Army.

Agniveers can be posted to any regiment/unit & can be further transferred to other regiments/units in org interest.

Agnipath recruitment dates

Indian Army

About the Army's recruitment plan, Lt Gen Bansi Ponappa said the Army will issue a draft notification on Monday and subsequent notifications will be issued by various recruitment units of the force from July 1 onwards.

Recruitment rallies under the Agnipath scheme will take place across India in August, September and October, he said.

Lt Gen Ponappa said the first batch comprising 25,000 personnel will join the training programme in the first and second week of December. The second lot of recruits will join their training around February 23.

He said a total of 83 recruitment rallies will be organised across the country to select around 40,000 personnel.

Indian Naval Forces

Giving details of the Navy's plan to induct Agniveers under the scheme, Vice Admiral Dinesh Tripathi said the naval headquarters will come out with a broad guideline for the recruitment by 25 June. The first batch of recruits will join the training programme by 21 November, he said.

Indian Air Force

The Indian Air Force to start registration process under Agnipath scheme on 24 June. Online exam process to start 24 July

Agnipath eligibility criteria

Age criteria

Under the newly rolled out scheme, only aspirants between 17-and-a-half years and 21 years of age are eligible for recruitment.

Following massive protests, the Defence Ministry said that it would allow those who were 21 years old in 2020, when recruitments were stalled, to be eligible — only for this year. The Defence Ministry said that “the upper age limit for the recruitment process for Agnipath scheme for 2022 is increased to 23 years".

Written pledge

Aspirants who are willing to apply through the short-term contractual Agnipath Scheme will have to submit a written pledge that the were not involved in the violent protests against the plan.

"Indian Army's foundation in discipline. No space for arson, vandalism. Every individual will give a certificate that they were not part of protest or vandalism. Police verification is 100%, no one can join without that."

Agnipath salary

The Agniveers will earn a salary package of 30,000 in the first year. Then, they will get a 10% hike every year. That means, in the second year, their salary would be 33,000 36,500 for the third year and 40,000 for the fourth year.

Meanwhile, around 30% of their salaries will be deducted every month for the Seva Nidhi corpus. And at the end of their service, i.e. after 4 years, the Centre will add an equal amount 11.77 lakh and the total amount will be paid to each Agniveer.

 

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