AGNIPATH: Youthful armed forces for nation, career progression for youth

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JAMMU: What an irony. What ought to have been celebrated by the nation turned into nightmare with arsonists and rogues indulging in vandalism in the name of democracy?
Agnipath Scheme should have been received with a sense of pride and enthusiasm, for it being a win-win situation for the nation and the youth having passion and fervor to serve the motherland.

Without going into the broader contours of the scheme, explained by the top hierarchy of the defence forces in detail, the rogue elements took to streets, obviously at the behest inimical elements mostly drawn from disgruntled political outfits. Of course, a sizable chunk of well-meaning youngsters fell into the trap laid by those destabilizing the nation on one or the other count. They didn’t even think for a while that the scheme stands tailored to give the nation a youthful army, navy and air-force besides vistas of opportunities for progression to the youth joining as Agniveers, having Josh and Jazba.
Those intending to join as Agniveers should have known that no employer-government or the private sector-could place their employees, with the qualification of matriculation, so well in terms of package and career progression options. Even engineering professionals or MBA graduates can’t get so much of emoluments at the beginning of their careers. The Agniveers have additional benefit of starting their careers afresh at the age of 21 at the strength of qualification of 10+2 or diplomas conferred by Indira Gandhi National Open University. Such trained and disciplined young people will be in good stead to pursue their careers; they can either continue their higher education or compete in various competitions in the job market. After all they will have an edge of having the experience of serving the country’s armed forces.
All the three service chiefs of the army, the navy and the air-force made a sincere and pro-active outreach to youth, explaining the salient features of the Agnipath scheme. The customized monthly package for Agniveers includes allowances for risk and hardship applicable in the three services.
Agniveers will be paid a fixed monthly package of Rs 30,000 in the first month, which includes Rs 21,000 (70 per cent) in hand while Rs 9,000 (30 per cent) will be deducted as a contribution to Agniveer Corpus Fund. The Centre will also make a contribution of Rs 9,000 to the corpus. In the second year, Rs 33,000 will be paid, Rs 36,500 in the third year and Rs 40,000 in the fourth year.
Contribution towards the Agniveers will be raised each year, which by the end of four years will be Rs 5.02 lakh by the recruits, with the Centre adding a matching Rs 5.02 lakh. At the exit after four years, Rs 11.71 lakh will be paid out to Agniveers as Seva Nidhi Package, which includes accumulated interest on the sum and will be exempted from income tax.
A Rs 48 lakh non-contributory life insurance cover will be provided to Agniveers for the duration of their engagement period. Those selected for enrolment will be required to serve for 15 years as regular cadre and will be governed by the existing terms and conditions of the service of Junior Commissioned Officer.
The motivation behind the Agnipath Scheme has been to ornament the armed forces with a youthful profile. Such a need was felt immediately after the Kargil War and during all these years the idea was discussed and deliberated at various levels in the armed forces, before the government arrived at a consensus.
This scheme is bound to tap young and techno savvy talent, which is motivated, disciplined and having passion for serving the nation to defend its integrity and sovereignty. Air Marshal and Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief South Western Air Command, Vikram Singh has aptly summed up the Agnipath Scheme, saying, “It will not just create a disciplined, motivated, skilled, more confident and capable workforce at the end of four years when the training and service period ends”.
The massive response to the registration for Agniveers in the Indian Air Force speaks of good sense prevailing upon the youth, which has manifested in dwindling protests-much to the discomfort of the inimical elements. (concluded)