Will the Agneepath scheme be abolished or changed? A committee has been formed, Modi government will take a decision on the recommendation immediately

Ananya Shroff
5 Min Read

New Delhi: When the alliance of BJP, which gave the slogan 'Abki Baar 400 Paar', could not even cross the figure of 300, the reasons for the anger of the voters are being searched. The NDA government has returned even with fewer seats, so it has started reviewing its policies. BJP has suffered electoral losses even in those areas from where a large number of youth join the army. Due to this, the investigation of the Agneepath scheme has also started. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 3.0 government has assigned the task of reviewing the Agneepath scheme to a group of secretaries of 10 major ministries and suggesting measures to make the recruitment scheme of the armed forces more attractive. The central government wants that every shortcoming of the Agneepath scheme should be removed as soon as possible.

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The group of secretaries will give a presentation to the PM

Officials associated with the matter told our sister newspaper The Economic Times (ET) that this panel of secretaries will make a final presentation after the Prime Minister returns from Italy after attending the G-7 summit. The G-7 summit will run from 13 to 15 June. Sources said that this group of secretaries can suggest changes in the Agneepath scheme, including salary hike and other benefits. Review of the recruitment program of Agniveers is also included in the revised 100-day agenda of the new government.

The army is also reviewing the Agneepath plan

A senior official aware of the discussions told ET, “The group of secretaries will prepare the details before June 16 and make a detailed presentation to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).” He said the presentation is likely to take place on June 17 or 18. The PMO will take a final decision on changes in the scheme after reviewing the recommendations and feedback from other stakeholders, including states. On the other hand, the army is also reviewing the Agneepath scheme at its level. The official said, “The army is also evaluating it internally.” The government launched the Agneepath scheme in June 2022 for short-term recruitment of personnel in the Indian Armed Forces.

Criticism of the plan

Agnipath was launched to promote the recruitment of youth in the armed forces amid the increasing burden of the defense pension bill. During the election campaign, the opposition left no stone unturned to create an atmosphere against this scheme. This agenda of the opposition was especially effective in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. Voters are angry that job security was not guaranteed to the Agniveers. The issue of inflation worked well in favor of the opposition.

Know what Agniveers get

Under the Agneepath scheme, Agniveers are recruited for a tenure of four years. During this period, they get a regular monthly salary starting from Rs 30 thousand to Rs 40 thousand in the fourth year. Apart from this, on completion of four years of tenure, Agniveer will get about Rs 12 lakh as a one-time service fund package. Armed forces can also give permanent service to Agniveers based on their requirements.

Government is saving money through Agniveer Yojana

According to a study by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), one Agniveer costs the government Rs 1.75 lakh less every year than a full-time recruit. The total saving on salaries of a batch of 60,000 Agniveers would be Rs 1,054 crore. It said the more significant impact would be on the pension bill in the medium to long term. Pensions account for about 20-25% of the defence budget. The Centre allocated Rs 1.41 lakh crore for defence in the interim budget.

Janata Dal United (JDU), a key ally of the ruling coalition, has also demanded a review of the scheme. Last week, senior JD(U) leader and spokesperson KC Tyagi said that his party wants the shortcomings of the scheme to be discussed in detail.

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