Even before the demand of the allies, BJP was in the mood to change the Agneepath scheme, know the reason

Ananya Shroff
4 Min Read

New Delhi : Even before concerns were raised by the new alliance partners about the Agneepath scheme, the BJP government had indicated that changes could be made to the recruitment process. Senior leaders admitted that amendments could be made to increase employment opportunities for short service soldiers and even provide job reservations. Apart from political opposition, implementing the scheme within the armed forces has not been easy. The veteran community in particular has been vocal about the creation of a separate class of soldiers who lack the protection and financial security offered to regular personnel.

There is a shortage of more than 1.5 lakh soldiers in the armed forces

The armed forces are currently facing a shortage of more than 1.5 lakh soldiers, most of whom are from the Army itself. This gap is increasing because regular recruitment of soldiers has been stopped due to the Agneepath scheme. It is challenging to overcome this shortage soon due to lack of training capacity and annual recruitment limit. However, the official reason for the shortage of soldiers was stated to be the decrease in recruitment during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Why was the pace of recruitment of soldiers slow?

Even after all restrictions were later lifted, the pace of induction remained slow. This is because Agnipath has become the only option to fill entry-level vacancies. With no change in the retirement age, the shortage has increased in the last two years. A possible solution to overcome this gap is to increase the recruitment of Agniveers in the Army after a service period of four years.

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This change can happen in Agnipath scheme

At present, the army plans to retain only 25 percent of Agniveers as regular soldiers. The rest of the soldiers will be given a pre-determined financial package on leaving the army. However, the government is ready to increase this recruitment according to the needs of the armed forces. This increases the possibility that by the end of 2026, when the first batch completes its tenure, almost all Agniveers will be able to be retained for regular service.

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The issue of financial security is also considered

Another contentious issue is the financial security provided to soldiers injured or martyred in battle. Irrespective of the scheme for inducting soldiers into the armed forces, there have been demands to ensure parity in the benefits provided in case of battle casualties. The BJP government is considering changes in the Agneepath scheme primarily to address the shortage of over 1.5 lakh personnel in the Army.

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