Following the results of Lok Sabha elections 2024, JDU expressed the need to review the Agnipath scheme for army recruitment. KC Tyagi, a JDU leader, said that the shortcomings of the Agnipath scheme should be discussed. He further mentioned that the concerns raised by the public should be addressed. In a few simple points, let’s understand what the scheme is about.

What is Agnipath scheme?

•    In the year 2022, the Central Government introduced the Agnipath scheme to recruit soldiers in Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. Under this scheme, soldiers serve only for a duration of four years. 

•    After completing four years of service under the Agnipath scheme, 25 percent of the soldiers will join the regular cadre, while the remaining 75 percent will have to leave the service. 

Who are Agniveers?

•    Agniveer refers to the soldiers recruited under the Agnipath scheme. Youth aged 17.5 to 21 years are recruited to serve in the armed forces for a period of four years. 

•    Agniveers will get a starting salary of Rs 30,000 along with additional benefits. Upon completion of four years of service, they receive a lump sum retirement package.

•    Agniveers will receive Rs 11.71 lakh after completing the service, which will be tax-free. There are nationwide protests regarding the scheme that what would the youth do upon completing the service after four years. 

Challenges of Agnipath scheme

•    People have expressed concerns that Agniveers retired from the service after four years will face the challenges of securing employment again. However, the government has also stated that they will be given priority in recruitment for various forces such as the CAPF and Assam Rifles. 

•    Other drawbacks include that the scheme offers no gratuity or pension benefits to the Agniveers.

What after Agnipath?

•    Agniveers will gain experience in fields such as law and order, engineering, and mechanics during their service. Many corporations have announced plans to recruit skilled Agniveers. 

•    The government has announced that Agniveers will receive priority for bank loans if they wish to become entrepreneurs. If they want to pursue further education, they will be provided with a certificate equivalent to completing class 12.