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Agnipath scheme for four-year military tour of duty unveiled


The Centre on Tuesday today unveiled a new short-term recruitment policy for Indian youth to serve in the armed forces. Termed Agnipath, the scheme will enable youngsters aged 17.5 to 21 to be inducted into any of the three services as “agniveers” for a period of four years.

The Agnipath scheme, earlier christened as “Tour of Duty”, was launched in the presence of Union Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh and the chiefs of the three services.

The radical recruitment policy was announced after the Cabinet Committee on Security approved it following extensive deliberations over the last two years.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh hailed the Agnipath recruitment scheme as a “transformative initiative” that will bring about a huge change and open up opportunities for the nation’s youth. He said the Agnipath scheme will strengthen India’s security while also providing a youthful profile to the Armed Forces.

“All look at the armed forces with respect and youth want to wear the uniform. The profile will be youthful. The health and fitness level be quite better. Higher skilled force will be available. Agniveer will be given a good package, along and with an exit package,” Singh said while addressing a joint press conference with the three service chiefs.

Army chief General Manoj Pande said the Agnipath scheme aims to make the Army a future-ready fighting force capable of meeting multiple challenges across full spectrum of conflict. It will increase technical threshold of the Army by recruiting Agniveers through IIT and other tech institutes, he added.

READ | Agnipath scheme launched. Here are the FAQs

ELIGIBILITY

Soldiers will be recruited in the age limit of 17.5 to 21 year age at a salary of around Rs 30,000-40,000. Women are eligible for the recruitment scheme.

Agniveers must meet the medical eligibility conditions laid down for enrolment in the armed forces as applicable to respective categories/trades.

The soldiers recruited under Agnipath will be released from service after four years, though the new system will have a provision for retaining around 25 per cent of them after another round of screening.

“The screening and selection based on a sound, fair, transparent and a robust assessment system will ensure that the Army retains the best of the best for a longer serving duration and these personnel will form the core of our organisation,” Army chief General Manoj Pande said.

ENROLMENT

Enrolment will be undertaken through an online centralised system for all three services with specialised rallies and campus interviews from recognised technical institutes such as Industrial Training Institutes and National Skills Qualifications Framework, among others.

Enrolment will be based on ‘All India All Class’ basis and the educational qualification for Agniveers will remain as in vogue for enrolment in various categories. {For example: For entry into General Duty (GD) soldier, the educational qualification is Class 10}.

REMUNERATION AND BENEFITS

According to an official statement, Agniveers will be given an attractive customised monthly package along with risk and hardship allowances as applicable in the three services.

On completion of the engagement period of four years, Agniveers will be paid one time ‘Seva Nidhi’ package which shall comprise their contribution including accrued interest thereon, and matching contribution from the Government equal to the accumulated amount of their contribution including interest.

The ‘Seva Nidhi’ will be exempt from Income Tax. There shall be no entitlement to gratuity and pension benefits. Agniveers will be provided non-contributory Life Insurance Cover of Rs 48 lakhs for the duration of their engagement period in the Indian Armed Forces.





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