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Rajnath Singh Unveils New Armed Forces Recruitment Plan 'Agnipath', Centre Calls The Scheme 'Historic'

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the 'Agnipath' scheme is designed to to create a youthful profile of the Armed forces.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
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India unveiled a new scheme called "Agnipath" on Tuesday for the recruitment of soldiers in the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, largely on a short-term contractual basis, with an aim to cut the ballooning salary and pensions bill.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced the new scheme at a media briefing, shortly after the Cabinet Committee on Security approved it.

"The Agnipath recruitment scheme is a transformative initiative that will provide a youthful profile to the armed forces," Singh said.

The revolutionary changes in the recruitment process will see the induction of the soldiers initially for a period of four years and some of them would be retained.

"The Cabinet Committee on Security has taken a historic decision today to approve the transformative scheme of 'Agnipath'. Under this, Indian youth would be granted an opportunity to get inducted into the Armed services", said  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

" Under the 'Agnipath' scheme, efforts are to create a youthful profile of the Armed forces. It would help to train them for new technologies & also improve their health levels. This scheme will increase employment opportunities with new skills in different sectors", he added.

Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar said the scheme will ensure a wider talent pool for recruitment in the armed forces.

The "Agnipath" scheme, earlier christened as "Tour of Duty", was launched in the presence of the chiefs of the three services.

The new scheme was announced after extensive deliberations on it over the last two years.

The soldiers to be recruited under the scheme will be called "Agniveer".

Currently, the Army recruits young people under the short service commission for an initial tenure of 10 years, which is extendable up to 14 years.

The scheme is aimed at slashing the salary and pension bills of the three services, which have been increasing rapidly.

The defence budget of Rs 5,25,166 crore for 2022-23 included Rs 1,19,696 crore for defence pensions.

The allocation for revenue expenditure was Rs 2,33,000 crore. The revenue expenditure includes the expenses on payment of salaries and maintenance of establishments. 

BJP lauds 'Agnipath' scheme as 'revolutionary'

Meawnhile, senior BJP leaders and Union ministers have lauded the launch of the 'Agnipath' scheme, a short-term contractual employment for soldiers in the armed forces, as a "revolutionary" initiative, with Home Minister Amit Shah asserting that it will provide youngsters with a wonderful opportunity to make a "golden tomorrow" for themselves and the country.

The ruling party also praised the PMO's announcement that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the government departments and ministries to recruit 10 lakh persons in the next one and a half years. 

BJP president J P Nadda said it shows the government's emphasis on job creation for the youth and the focus on efficient management of workload.

On the 'Agnipath' scheme, Nadda said,"the government under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi has announced the 'Agnipath' scheme allowing our youth to serve in the military forces for a certain duration. This will help our youth to instill discipline in themselves and to help the nation effectively."

Describing it as a farsighted decision, Shah said this will make India's young population disciplined, skilled, fit and financially empowered to make them self-reliant. This will be a foundation of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' in a true sense, he said.

'Agnipath' scheme is a revolutionary initiative, he added.

"Modi has announced the Agnipath scheme to provide youngsters a proud future and to serve the nation by working for the armed forces. This will build their capabilities and skills, and India's defence system will be further empowered as well," he tweeted. 

Noting that the youngsters are the foundation of the "new India", Shah said Modi has been constantly working to empower them and his decision to recruit 10 lakh persons in the next 18 months will infuse them with new hope and confidence. 

Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said, "PM Narendra Modi has over the years made the government more accountable and governance more people-centric, ensuring last-mile delivery. Enhancing the strength of the government to meet the targets and opportunities towards the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat is another major step." 

India unveiled a new scheme called "Agnipath" on Tuesday for the recruitment of soldiers in the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, largely on a short-term contractual basis, to cut the ballooning salary and pensions bill.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced the new scheme at a media briefing, shortly after the Cabinet Committee on Security approved it.

"The Agnipath recruitment scheme is a transformative initiative that will provide a youthful profile to the armed forces," Singh said.

In another development, Modi asked various government departments and ministries to undertake the recruitment of 10 lakh people on a "mission mode" in the next year and a half, his office said on Tuesday.

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The direction from Modi came following a review of the status of human resources in all government departments and ministries, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said. 

(With PTI Inputs)

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