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To enhance the future career prospects of our Agniveers, and equip them for various job roles in the civilian sector, the Ministry of Education (MoE) on 15 June announced to launch a special three-year skill based bachelor degree programme for such defence personnel.

The MoE says the programme would help recognise Agniveers the skill training received by them during their tenure in the defence establishments, it said in an official statement.

The degree will be offered by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and will be recognised both in India and abroad for employment and education. All the three wings -- Army, Navy and Air Force will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with IGNOU for implementation of the scheme.

"Under this programme, 50 per cent of the credits required for a graduate degree will come from the skill training - both technical and non-technical - received by the Agniveer, and the remaining 50 per cent will come from a basket of courses that cover a wide variety of subjects like languages, economics, history, political science, public administration, sociology, mathematics, education, commerce, tourism, vocational studies, agriculture and jyotish, as also ability enhancement courses on environmental studies and communication skills in English," the statement added.

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This programme is aligned with UGC norms and with the National Credit Framework or National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) as mandated under the National Education Policy 2020.

Apart from this, the framework of the programme has been duly recognized by the concerned regulatory bodies -- All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET) and UGC. Degree will be awarded by IGNOU as per UGC nomenclature, it said.

Earlier on 15 June, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh unveiled a "transformative" scheme called 'Agnipath' for the recruitment of soldiers in the Army, the Navy and the Air Force largely on a short-term contractual basis to cut the ballooning salary and pension bills and enable a youthful profile of the armed forces. Under the 'Agnipath' scheme, Indian youth will be provided an opportunity to serve in the armed forces as 'Agniveer'.

After completion of the four-year tenure of the recruits, the scheme provides for retaining 25 per cent of each specific batch for regular service, based on organisational requirements and policies promulgated by the armed forces from time to time.

On June 15, the Union Home Ministry said the government has decided to give priority to Agniveers who have completed four years under the 'Agnipath Scheme' for recruitment into CAPFs and Assam Rifles.

In the meantime, vice chief of Army staff, Lieutenant General BS Raju, while speaking on the timeline of recruitments for 'Agnipath' said 90 days from now, first of the recruitment rally will take place.

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