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    Agnipath scheme allows youth to join Army, Navy, Air Force for 4 years; details here

    india | IST

    Agnipath scheme allows youth to join Army, Navy, Air Force for 4 years; details here

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    Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the Agnipath scheme will give a better opportunity to the youth to serve the nation. The government also expects to save a substantial amount of money through the scheme which will be used for military modernisation.

    The government on Tuesday launched the 'Agnipath' recruitment scheme for the armed forces. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) and Union Cabinet met and approved the proposal on the 'Agnipath' scheme for armed forces in the day.
    Under the scheme, soldiers get released after four years of service and only 25 percent of soldiers, the best professionals will be re-inducted as permanent. Soldiers recruited under the new model will be called 'Agniveers'. They will form a distinct rank in the three services, and will also wear a distinct insignia as part of their uniform.
    The scheme is applicable at the soldier level, and not the officer level. The government said 46,000 Agniveers will be recruited this year.
    New recruits will receive a monthly package that includes benefits such as risk and hardship allowances. They will receive a monthly salary of Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000. The Agniveers will also receive a non-contributory insurance cover of ₹48 lakh during the period.
    For all three military forces, enrolment will be done through an online centralised system. Candidates must meet the medical eligibility requirements in order to enrol.
    Addressing the press conference, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the scheme will give a better opportunity to the youth to serve the nation. The government also expects to save a substantial amount of money through the scheme which will be used for military modernisation. The scheme will cut down the ballooning pension bill of the armed forces as 50 percent of defence budget is being used on salary and pension bills. Under the scheme, the youth will not have to join the armed forces for the long term.
    Under the Seva Nidhi Package, soldiers will get a yearly package of Rs 4.76 in the first year to Rs 6.92 in the fourth year. The allowances are as applicable. On the completion of four years of service, the yearly package will be around Rs 11.7 lakh including contribution and interest. Agniveers will contribute 30 percent to monthly emoluments and a matching amount will be contributed by the government. It will be exempted from income tax.
    The chiefs of the three services were present at the media briefing. Lt Gen Anil Puri, Additional Secretary, Department of Military Affairs said, "Today average age is around 32 years, in time to come it will further come down to 26 years. This will happen in six-seven years. In order to transform armed forces into youthful, tech-savvy, modern, there's a need to harness the youth potential and make him a future-ready soldier".
    Chief of Army Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said the IAF shall be imparting a wide range of training & exposure to 'Agniveers' in aviation, weapons and sophisticated ground systems. "Agneepath scheme also allows IAF to assess both aptitude and attitude of young people i.e 'Agniveers' & prepare them for further specialized training in aviation and non-aviation skills required by IAF, should they opt to join as regular air warriors," he said.
    As per the initial proposal, the recruitment of soldiers in the Army would be conducted under the new scheme and the duration of service for 50 percent of the new recruits could be between three to five years while the rest may have a much longer tenure. The scheme would be known as the 'Agnipath'. The original proposal stated that some soldiers would be released after three years of service and some others after around five years. Some of the soldiers could have a longer duration of service, news agency PTI quoted sources. In the last few weeks, these proposals saw some changes, the report said. Currently, the Army recruits people under the Short Service Commission (SSC) for an initial tenure of 10 years which can be extended up to 14 years.
    The three services chiefs had briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi two weeks ago about the scheme, which would enable inducting soldiers into the security forces for a short term. The scheme is being implemented by the Department of Military Affairs.
    With inputs from PTI
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