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26 Jun, 2022
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Here’s Why Defence Aspirants Are Protesting Against ‘Agnipath’ Scheme!

Recently, the Government of India unveiled the Agnipath scheme, hoping it to be a revolution in the recruitment game of the Indian armed forces. However, just two days after the launch of the scheme, protests raged across several cities. The job aspirants questioned the terms of the scheme and raised concern on job security and post-service benefits. 

The protestors highlighted two major issues connected to the scheme, being job security and pension. In the previous defence recruitment system, youngsters joined troops for a period of 17-year, which was subject to extension for some personnel. The previous scheme further offered a lifelong pension for retired individuals. 

On the other hand, the new scheme, envisages four-year tenure, plus the Agniveers will not be eligible to pension benefits. Among thousands of youngsters protesting, Rahul Kumar, a student from Bihar’s Chappra, said, “This Agnipath scheme India is just an excuse given by the central Government to unemployed youth”. He further said, even parents will think twice before motivating their young ones to join the Indian army for just four years.

Another individual, SK Jha who operates a coaching centre for competitive exams in Bihar, said that a term of four year is a joke, just imagine army men getting retired after just four years. He said, this scheme is like playing with the emotions of youth and the government is spoiling their career in the name of giving them some skills. 

 

Due to pandemic, the aspirants already waited for two years because the army recruitment was at halt. The Government said that recruiting soldiers under Agnipath scheme will commence in 90 days. The students chanted ‘Bharti Do, Ya Arthi Do’, as one of the slogans when the protest began in different parts of the country. 

According to a teacher from one of the leading coaching institutes, there use to be around 60,000 vacancies in the army and other defence forces until last two years and since there have been no appointment done. A lot of youngsters are waiting to try their fate in the army services. 

Because the last two years went in vain for all the aspirants, and now this short-duration of services has fuelled the anger in young students. Some aspirants spend 3-4 years preparing for these examinations, and all of their efforts would go in vain when they get a job for merely four years. 

According to an aspirant who just got overage said that the government has changed all the rules and the new rules would only spoil the life of India’s youngsters. He further said that a lot of youngsters spend 4-5 years of their life preparing to appear in the army examinations, but why would they do so now. Spending 5 years in preparation for a job of 4-year tenure is unreal. He further believes that because of the Agnipath scheme a big part of the youth of India would remain unemployed for the rest of their lives. 

Furthermore, since most of the army units are region, caste and class based, there are also questions raised on how will the new recruits be adjusted in the existing system as the Agnipath scheme envisions an ‘all India, all class’, recruitment system. 

How Did Protest Break?

The Agnipath scheme protest began in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur and Buxar on Wednesday, and since the last 48 hours this rage has been spreading to other states that include Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, and many more. 

The protestors have come out on streets and they are pelting stones, crippling traffic on National highways, igniting fire in railway bogies and breaking public buses. The country has already faced a loss of over millions of rupees during these protests held across the country. Besides, even political parties in opposition have started raising their voice against the Government’s Scheme. 

More to the Agnipath scheme news, a strong mob also vandalized property at Secundarabad railway station, forcing the police to begin lathicharge. Protestors also attacked a vehicle of Warsaliganj BJP MLA Aruna Devi, however, she escaped unhurt. Several netizen have also voiced their anger against the scheme and people are posting their views on social media about how the Central Government is playing with the future of country’s youth. 

For all the aspirant who were asking for a relaxation in the age criteria because they couldn’t appear for exams in the last years have been now addressed by the Defence Minister. The Defence Minister on 17  June 2022 cleared that the Government has increased the qualifying age to 23 considering the delay done due to pandemic. The disagreement that seem to begin among India’s government and the country’s youth has now taken the political turn, and big names from the opposition parties have conducted press conferences to put down the Government’s Agnipath scheme while highlighting the low points of the scheme. Amid all this rage, the Government is planning to begin with the recruitment process anytime soon. 

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