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Tuesday 14 June 2022

Agniveer Yojna Gujarat Bharti.

Bharat Ke Agniveer’: Centre unveils new defence recruitment model| 10 points. 

The ‘Agnipath’ recruitment model is based on all-India merit-based selection process. Those between the age of 17.5 and 21 years will serve in the armed forces for a period of four years.

The Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to take up and approve the 'Tour of Duty' (ToD) scheme for recruitment of new soldiers into the armed forces today (14 June), reports say.

The armed forces are learnt to have given final touches to the ToD scheme under which soldiers are set to be recruited on a short-term as well as a long-term basis, people familiar with the development said on Monday.

The scheme would be known as ‘Agneepath’ and the soldiers recruited under the scheme would be called 'Agniveer'.

The soldiers recruited under the ToD scheme will serve for a period of four years, including a training period of six months.

Candidates between the ages of 17-and-a-half years and 21 years will be eligible to apply for recruitment under this scheme. The qualification criteria for soldiers is likely to remain the same as before.

The 'Agniveer' soldiers would be paid a starting salary of Rs 30,000. The salary would go up to Rs 40,000 by the end of the fourth year.

The soldiers will also get a 'Seva Nidhi' package under which a soldier will contribute 30 per cent of his emoluments with the government making a matching contribution. At the end of four years, this amount, which is likely to around 10 lakh, will be given to the soldier, and will be tax-free.

According to some reports, around 25 per cent of these recruits could be inducted back into the services based on their performance.

The soldiers who serve in the armed forces under this scheme could be awarded a diploma or given credits for use in further education.

The main aim of the scheme appears to be to prevent the pensions budget of the armed forces from ballooning further. Currently, the pensions claim almost a quarter of the defence budget, which has lead to a decrease in spending on modernisation of the armed forces.

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"The share of pension in the defence budget increased from 19% in 2012-13 to 26% in 2019-20. It has since fallen to 23% in 2021-22 and 2022-23. In the budget for 2022-23, the expenditure on defence pension is estimated to be Rs 1,19,696 crore which is 2% higher than the revised estimate of Rs 1,16,878 crore in 2021-22," a recent PRS Legislative Research report says.

However, some of these proposals may see changes as the scheme was given final touches in the last few weeks, sources have told PTI.

Currently, the army recruits officers under the short service commission for an initial tenure of 10 years which is extendable up to 14 years.

Under the new scheme, people to be recruited under the ToD for three years and beyond will be eligible to be deployed as combatants in key forward locations and there will be no restrictions in their roles.

The proposal, which has been part of broad reforms envisaged for the forces, has been deliberated upon extensively in the last two years.

Union defence minister Rajnath Singh and the three service chiefs on Tuesday introduced the short-term defence recruitment policy called Agnipath at a press conference.  “The Cabinet Committee on Security has taken a historic decision today to approve the transformative scheme of 'Agnipath'. Under this, Indian youth would be granted an opportunity to get inducted into the Armed services,” the defence minister said.

Army chief General Manoj Pande, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and Navy chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar were present during the announcement of the defence recruitment scheme. 

“Under the 'Agnipath' scheme, efforts are to create a youthful profile of the Armed forces. It would help to train them for new technologies & also improve their health levels. This scheme will increase employment opportunities with new skills in different sectors,” the minister added. 

“The recruitment model is based on all-India merit-based selection process. We are looking at the best to serve the armed forces between the ages of 17.5 to 21 years. Once selected, ‘Agniveers’ will serve for 4 years with us,” Lt Gen Anil Puri, Additional Secretary, Dept of Military Affairs, said.

Some of the salient features of the ‘Agnipath’ defence recruitment scheme are as follows

1. The recruitments under Agnipath scheme will be open to men and women progressively based on service requirements. The applicants between the age of 17 and a half and 21 years will be eligible under the scheme.

2. The medical and physical fitness requirements will be as per existing norms.    Those candidates having passed their 10th and 12th examinations will be considered eligible as per armed forces.

3. As far as the compensation package is considered, the ‘Agniveers’ will be paid ₹4.76 lakhs per annum in the first year which will be hiked to ₹6.92 lakhs in the fourth year of service. 

4.  The Risk, Hardship and other allowances will be applicable as per the existing norms. On completion of four years in service, a sum of ₹11.7 lakhs including contribution and interest. 

5. The 30 per cent emoluments will be contributed by ‘Agniveers’ and equal matching amount will be contributed by the central government.

6. The Seva Nidhi Package will be exempted from income tax. 

7. After completion of fours years in service, the ‘Agniveers’ will get an opportunity to apply voluntarily for regular cadre. Based on merit and organisational requirement, up to 25 per cent shall be selected from that batch. A robust assessment system is being developed which will be transparent, objective,  automated and centrally maintained. 

8. For supreme sacrifice in the line of duty during the tenure, a non-contributary insurance cover kept for each ‘Agniveer’ worth ₹1 crore plus full pay for the unserved period. 

9. In case an ‘Agniveer’ gets disabled during the tenure, there will be full payment for the unserved portion as well as Seva Nidhi package with full interest. Besides this, the scheme has provision for ₹44 lakh based on percentage of disability. 

10. The first rally of ‘Agniveers' will begin 90 days from today.