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Business News/ Politics / News/  Lok Sabha elections 2024: Congress vows to scrap 'discriminatory' Agnipath, revert to old military recruitment process
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Lok Sabha elections 2024: Congress vows to scrap 'discriminatory' Agnipath, revert to old military recruitment process

Congress vows to abolish Agnipath military recruitment scheme if elected, seeks President's intervention for youth affected by regular recruitment process cancellation.

Bidar: Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge addresses a public meeting, in Bidar, Karnataka, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. (PTI Photo) (PTI02_20_2024_000146B) (PTI)Premium
Bidar: Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge addresses a public meeting, in Bidar, Karnataka, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. (PTI Photo) (PTI02_20_2024_000146B) (PTI)

The Congress has promised to scrap the Agnipath military recruitment scheme if elected to power in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Party chief Mallikarjun Kharge also urged President Droupadi Murmu to help nearly two lakh youth facing “gross injustice" after the regular recruitment process was scrapped. The Agnipath scheme was introduced in June 2022 and ensures recruitment of youngsters aged between 17 and 21 for a period of four years.

“Between 2019 and 2022, almost two lakh young men and women were informed that they had been accepted into the three armed services. These young men and women had struggled against all odds to pass gruelling mental and physical tests and a written exam…Until the end of May 2022, they believed that they had fulfilled their dreams and were awaiting only their joining letters…" Kharge wrote in a letter to the President.

He said that the Government also failed to refund approximately 125 crore that had been taken from these individuals — “50 lakh applicants had to pay 250 each to collect and application form".

Kharge also insisted that the scheme was ‘discriminatory’ among the jawans “by creating parallel cadres of soldiers who are expected to work on similar tasks, but with very different emoluments, benefits and prospects". 

“The majority of Agniveers will be released into an uncertain job market after four years of service, which some have argued could affect social stability….There are many well-known issues with the Agnipath scheme. Former Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane has written that the Army was 'taken by surprise' by Agnipath and that 'for the Navy and Air Force, it came like a bolt from the blue'," he added.

ALSO READ: ‘Agnipath scheme came like a bolt from the blue,’ says former Army chief MM Naravane

Earlier in February, the AICC ex-servicemen department had led a four-day protest at the Jantar Mantar to demand recruitment of those selected in the defence forces prior to the Agnipath scheme.

“We are with the military candidates, who are full of patriotism and bravery, in the fight for justice," tweeted Congress MP Rahul Gandhi in response to Kharge's letter.

“Whether it is cold, hot or rainy, they wake up early in the morning and practise running. They think that they will join the Army, serve the country and also get employment. The BJP government crushed the dreams of lakhs of promising youth of the country by bringing Agnivir Yojana. Lakhs of posts are vacant, crores of youth are unemployed -- this is Modi's guarantee," added Priyanka Gandhi.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 26 Feb 2024, 03:58 PM IST
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