All India Congress Committee (AICC) leader Capt (retd) Ajay Yadav on Sunday hit out at the BJP-led government at the Centre for its “ill-conceived” Agnipath scheme and said it is not only anti-youth but also against the interests of the country.
Yadav, who is also chairman of the OBC department in the AICC, claimed that there are 62 lakh vacancies in the country in the government sector which needs to be filled.
“The Agnipath scheme is not only anti-youth but against the interests of the nation. It will reduce the strength of our armed forces in the years to come even as our country is surrounded by hostile neighbours like China and Pakistan,” he told reporters here.
Flanked by senior leaders of J-K Pradesh Congress Committee including its president G A Mir, Yadav advocated immediate rollback of the scheme. “We cannot afford to compromise on our defence preparedness and its strength”.
Referring to the nationwide protests against the scheme, he said the youth of the country are on roads but the prime minister and the defence minister are “silent and not listening to the voice of the youth and war veterans”.
Lashing out at the government for using army officers to defend its policy, he said the army was never politicised in the past seven decades.
“The Agnipath scheme is against the interests of the youth who want to serve the nation and join armed forces. Besides, it will weaken our defense mechanism and create division in the ranks,” Yadav said, adding “the officer will be a regular pension holder while the jawan without pension”.
Yadav, a former Haryana minister, said he comes from the Rewari area where the prime minister had promised one rank one pension (OROP) but instead he has brought a “no rank no pension scheme”.
“Thousands of youths who had qualified preliminary tests and were preparing for the final selection for the past three years have been left in lurch,” he said.
The Congress leader said the youth of the country are frustrated and agitated over the scheme. He said only 2.5 percent of the ex-servicemen have been getting jobs in the private sector post-retirement so the assertion that these youths post disengagement would get employment elsewhere is devoid of any truth.
“The scheme was never brought and discussed in Parliament to study its various aspects and it is against the democratic system in the country,” Yadav said.
He claimed that there are 62 lakh government vacancies, out of which 26 lakh are in the central government but these are not filled expeditiously and youths are suffering. He said the Congress will hold a peaceful ‘Satyagraha’ on June 27 at all district headquarters and assembly-wise segments across the country against the Agnipath scheme.