AGNIPATH scheme: Govt raises upper age limit to 23 as youth protests swell


In a bid to pacify agitating youth, the government has increased the upper age limit for recruitment under the recently announced AGNIPATH scheme by two years to 23 years. The government, however, made it clear that it is a one-time waiver and will be applicable for the proposed recruitment cycle for 2022.

In a decision communicated late last night, the defence ministry stated the decision to increase the upper age limit was arrived at considering the fact that no recruitment took place in the last two years.

“Cognizant of the fact that it has not been possible to undertake the recruitment during the last two years, the government has decided that a one-time waiver shall be granted for the proposed recruitment cycle for 2022,” the Defence Ministry stated in a press release.

A former Army Lt General said the government has not factored in some of the issues before implementing the radical changes which are needed to restructure recruitment processes in the tri-services of Army, Air Force and Navy so that they are future ready.

“Government should have realised that there are already people who have entered into recruitment processes, some of them may have registered themselves or undergone physical tests and so on. Ideally, they should have been given preference in recruitment before launching the Agnipath scheme,” said the army veteran who writes on military issues.

On the unexpected violence by aspirants, another officer stated that for one lakh positions in the army at least seven to ten lakh youth apply with the hope that the job is permanent in nature.

Apart from that, the an industry which helps aspirants in the recruitment process, too, may be feeling aggrieved, he added to explain a possible reason for the unprecedented violence since the last two days demanding roll back of temporary route of induction into the tri-services.

Government sources stated the protest will eventually subside as the youth will come to understand post-service opportunities available for Agniveers. The Home Ministry has already announced they would be given preference in recruitment for jobs in central armed police forces.

Meanwhile, the protests have prompted the Opposition to urge for a re-look of the scheme with some of the BJP allies, notably former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and the JD(U) openly asking for a rollback of the scheme. BJP MP Varun Gandhi, too, has asked the government to review the scheme.

Published on

June 17, 2022

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