HomeINDIAStrong protests against the new recruitment plan of the Indian Army, Agnipath:...

Strong protests against the new recruitment plan of the Indian Army, Agnipath: Report 17Jun 2022

Strong protests against the new recruitment plan of the Indian Army, Particularly in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, protesters have set fire to trains and......

Strong protests against the new recruitment plan of the Indian Army

Particularly in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, protesters have set fire to trains and blocked major highways demanding the roll back of reforms.

Violent protests have also been reported in the southern city of Secunderabad in Telangana state – youths have attacked local railway stations and damaged trains and shops.

The “Fire Path” or Fire Path program unveiled on Tuesday is aimed at applicants between the ages of 17.5 and 21. Successful candidates will join the armed services for four years, after which only 25% of them will be retained.

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In a bid to calm protesters, the federal government announced on Thursday night that – for this year only – candidates aged 23 can apply under the scheme.

Since the outbreak of the epidemic, recruitment has stagnated, frustrating millions of desperate applicants who fear they may not be able to apply for the Defense Force any time soon.

The reform announcement aims to cut the army’s ballooning salaries and pensions costs – which consume more than half of its budget – and free up money to modernize forces. The government says it will also boost the youth profile of the armed forces.

But prospective recruits say the scheme does very little to create jobs and opportunities.

The program has also drawn criticism from some military generals and defense experts who say it could weaken the army structure and have serious national security ramifications, especially when India has tense borders with its two neighbours, Pakistan and China.

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“This is a foolish move, which could affect the efficiency of the security forces,” said retired Maj. Gen. Shionan Singh.

“It’s good to save money but it shouldn’t be done at the expense of the defense forces. If you go to war with an experienced soldier, can a person who has trained for four years take his place when he dies? Not these things.” Do this kind of thing.”

India, which shares a heavily militarized border with Pakistan and is involved in a tense stand-off with China along its Himalayan border, has one of the largest armed forces in the world. With about 1.4 million soldiers, the Indian Army is also one of the country’s top employers – with millions applying annually.

About 60,000 soldiers retire each year and the Army holds 100 fresh recruitment “rally” to replace them. However, the appointment has been suspended for the past few years. Officials attribute this to the epidemic, but experts say the force was already stretched on resources and struggling to modernize.

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46,000 personnel will be recruited under the Fire Path this year.

The soldiers will go through training for 6 months and then be deployed for three and a half years. During this period, they will receive a monthly starting salary of R30,000 ($384; £316), plus additional benefits that will rise to R40,000 by the end of their four-year service.

What happens after four years?
One of the biggest concerns is the fate of the soldiers after they finish their initial term.

“I have been working very hard for the last two years to join the army. But suddenly the Agnipath scheme was announced,” said Debojit Bora, 20, from the northeastern state of Assam. “Now we will only have the opportunity to work for four years. So, even if I am elected, I will retire from my job. What will I do after that?”

This is particularly alarming at a time when the country is facing a continuing jobs crisis. According to the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), an independent think tank, India’s unemployment rate stood at 7.83 per cent in April. When the coronavirus hit India in 2020, millions of Indians lost their jobs when the country was already in a prolonged recession.

Besides, the unemployment rate among the youth (15-29 years of age) has been hovering above 20% for a long time, Mahesh Vyas, managing director and CEO, CMIE, told The Indian Express.

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Strong protests against the new recruitment plan of the Indian Army Agnipath
Strong protests against the new recruitment plan of the Indian Army Agnipath

The government has tried to allay these fears by announcing that successful firepath applicants will be given priority in recruitment in the Central Armed Police Force and Assam Rifles (a unit of the Indian Army).

But military experts are skeptical. They are worried that this will push the youth into a life of depression and reduce job opportunities

“Where would a 21-year-old unemployed 10th or 12th passer go for a job? If he went for recruitment in the police, he would be told that there were already several other fresh graduates in tow, so he should stand down.” ” behind the lines,” Maj Gen Singh said.




In addition, four years is too short a time for recruits to adjust to military discipline, he added.

“Out of four years, six months will be spent in training. Then the soldier will go to areas like infantry and signals, for specialized training, which will take more time. It’s not like they can be pilots in the Air Force – they will.” Become a groundsman

Strong protests against the new recruitment plan of the Indian Army

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(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by News East India staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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