Home/ News / India/  20% Agniveers in Indian Navy will be women: Agnipath Scheme

The Indian Navy has said that up to 20% of the initial batch of Agniveers or military recruits under the government's Agnipath scheme, will be women, providing they meet the requisite requirements. According to Navy officials speaking to the news agency ANI, these "Agniveers" would be assigned to various branches of the nation's marine defence force.

On July 1, the Indian Army started recruiting under the Agnipath scheme, and enlistment rallies have been planned all around the nation. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh introduced the Agnipath programme on June 14. However, opposition parties and potential recruits to the armed forces fiercely objected to the program's requirement that 75% of recruits depart after four years of service.

Violence sprang out during the rallies; buses, buildings, and train stations were burned down, and one person died in Telangana. Despite the numerous protests, the authorities resisted changing the plan. Instead, some states and union ministries assured "Agniveers" who were forced to retire of support in the form of loans and job quotas.

However, the military has made it clear that participants in the Agnipath scheme must affirm they did not take part in protests.

On July 1, the Navy started accepting applications for the Agnipath scheme. Government officials informed ANI on July 4 that some 10,000 female aspirants had already done so.

"The Agnipath scheme in the Navy will be gender-neutral. As we speak, 30 women officers are sailing on frontline warships," Navy officials had said.

According to a FAQ on the Indian Navy website, the branches that will accept competent women aggies are ordnance, electrical and naval air mechanics, communications (ops) and communications (electronic warfare), and gunnery weapons and sensors.

This will be the first time the Navy will permit women to serve as sailors who can be deployed on warships in accordance with operational requirements.

"We have decided the time has come to recruit women sailors... which will include women who will go to sea," Navy officials told ANI.

Meanwhile, over 2.7 lakh potential Agniveers have applied to join the Air Force, for which recruitment ends today. The Air Force opened applications June 24.

In the meantime, the Supreme Court has consented to hear petitions contesting the Agnipath scheme the next week. One of the petitioners has contended the scheme 'undermines armed forces’ professionalism, ethos, and fighting spirit'.

(With ANi inputs)

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Updated: 05 Jul 2022, 03:19 PM IST
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