Defence Minister meets MPs panel, armed forces Chiefs on ‘Agnipath’ scheme
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday gave a presentation on the Agnipath scheme of recruitment to the armed forces to the Parliamentary Consultative Committee.
The two-hour meeting was attended by 12 MPs from various political parties including four from the BJP and the three Chiefs of the armed forces. The Minister’s presentation was aimed at addressing the concerns of the opposition leaders ahead of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, starting July 18.
However, opposition MPs, including those from the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Trinamool Congress , raised objections to the new recruitment scheme and said it should be rolled back. Gohil was supported by NCP MP Supriya Sule and TMC MP Saugata Roy. The Opposition MPs wrote to the Defence Minister asking for a rollback of the scheme. Significantly, Congress MP Manish Tewari, who has supported Agnipath publicly, did not sign this letter.
“Agnipath scheme should be withdrawn, if they want to do it, then come, talk in the Parliament. Try running a pilot project somewhere. The youth who have worked hard for three years should be recruited regularly in the army. I demand the Prime Minister to immediately withdraw the Agnipath scheme. These are some of our demands. Please include my thoughts in the minutes of today’s meeting,” Congress MP Shaktisinh Gohil said.
Unveiled on June 14, the scheme enables recruitment of youth between the age of 17-and-a-half-years and 21 years in the armed forces on four-year contract with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 more years.
However, later, the government extended the upper age limit to 23 years from 21 for recruitment under the scheme in 2022. The youth to be recruited under the new scheme would be called ‘Agniveer’.
July 11, 2022