By Shahbaz Ali
As the Indian ruling government BJP facing criticism over its official’s statement on Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), demolish Muslims home in Karnataka and target killing of Kashmiri pandits in IIOJ&K, now it has facing another criticism over new Indian military recruitment scheme “Agnipath” across country.
The scheme which aims to counter China and Pakistan but also faces pressure to placate angry would-be soldiers.
The Agnipath scheme which recently introduced by Indian govt on 14 June 2022. The scheme is the only way to for recruitment into the military and it will be hired only four-year period that includes training for six months followed by 3.5 years deployment. This scheme is scheduled to be implement from this September.
The scheme is for both male and female aspirants of age group 17.5 to 21 years but due to protest against the scheme, the government raised upper limit from 21 years to 23 years but only for recruitment in this year. The recruitment through this scheme is twice a year for the Indian Army, Navy and the Air Force and posts available are below the officer core.
The main reason of this scheme criticism is that it will bypass a lot of things including long tenures, pension and other benefits which were in past military recruitment systems.
The second reason of this scheme criticism is that Indian government did not took into confidence on people and share information that we will introduce this scheme and even this scheme was neither debated in the parliament nor in the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence.
The individuals whose ambition to join Armed Forces were disappointed with the rules of this scheme. The government plans to recruit 45 to 50 thousand new personnel every year through this scheme.
Before the introduction of this scheme, soldiers were recruited into the armed forces on a fifteen plus year tenure along lifetime pension and from 2019 there was a no recruitment done in the armed forces for the three years. Meanwhile 50 to 60 thousand soldiers continued to retire annually which leading to a manpower shortage that began affecting the operational capabilities of the armed forces.
The govt thought that through this scheme we will decrease unemployment in India but they don’t know about the consequences of this move. After the announcement of the scheme, violent protests erupted in across India where the army aspirants angry with the new scheme called for its rollback and damaged public property including buses and trains. Meanwhile, several opposition parties and military personals criticized the proposal for short-term recruitment of soldiers in the armed forces and demanded a rollback.
The government and generals are trying to pacify the protesters with clarifications and assurances. For the first time in 75 years, service chiefs are being fronted to defend a policy decision by the government.
It seems that BJP -led government is trying to create its own ‘armed’ cadre base through the new defence recruitment scheme and BJP plans to hire ‘Agniveer’ soldiers as “watchmen” at its party offices, after their four-year service period.