Agnipath row: PM says some decisions may look “unfair” now but builds nation in future

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Jun 21, 2022

Armed forces start rolling out recruitment schedule; mandatory online registration to begin on July 1

With protests continuing since Agnipath recruitment scheme was launched six days ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said that several decisions may look “unfair at present” but help in “building the nation” in the long run.

“Several decisions look unfair at present. In time, those decisions will help in building the nation,” PM Modi remarked in his address to people in Bengaluru without giving any reference to four-year contractual appointment of Agniveers in the armed forces.

The armed forces have started rolling out the recruitment schedule as stated earlier. According to a notification issued by the Army on Monday for the induction of soldiers who would be called Agniveers, the online registration, which is mandatory, will begin on July 1. It can be done on “Personnel enrolled through Agniveer scheme will be required to undergo periodical medical check-ups and physical/written/field tests as governed by orders issued. The performance so demonstrated would be considered for subsequent offer for enrolment in the regular cadre,” the Army said.

Army sources said it is unlikely that regiment character would be impacted due to inflow of Agniveers into the battalions. An officer explained that youth picked up from a region will be most likely absorbed in their class-specific regiments. For instance, if the recruitment is done from the Sikh-dominated regions of Punjab and adjoining areas, they will be inducted mostly into the Sikh Regiment, one of the most-decorated regiments of the India Army. Only Mahar Regiment and Brigade of Guards are all-India, all-class regiments of India Army. Other infantary regiments like Sikh Regiment, Rajputana Rifles, Gorkha regiment are all class-specific though over the years recruits from other regions and backgrounds have also joined them, sourced added.

“These applications will be considered in a centralised manner by the Army based on an objective criteria including performance during their engagement period and not more than 25 per cent of each specific batch of ‘Agniveers’ will be enrolled in the regular cadre,” the Army said in the notification.

Bharat Bandh has no impact

Meanwhile, the Bharat Bandh called to protest against the Agnipath scheme did not have much impact in Delhi. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said in a statement that commercial markets across the country remained open to do usual business activities.

The Armed forces have tried to reach out to army veterans to brief them and allay their apprehensions on the new recruitment rules. Government sources said that the agitation, some of which were instigated by anti-national forces, will come down further as youth understand the benefits of the Agnipath scheme.

Support from corporates

After other union ministries’ announcements, the corporate world is also coming forward to absorb post-service Agniveers. Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra, who said it was sad to see violence against the recruitment scheme, welcomed the opportunity to recruit trained and capable Agniveers.

In a couple of tweets, Mahindra said, “Large potential for employment of Agniveers in the Corporate Sector. With leadership, teamwork & physical training, Agniveers provide market-ready professional solutions to industry, covering the full spectrum from operations to administration & supply chain management”.

He joined other industrialists like Sajjan Jindal, the chairman of JSW Group, who have supported the recruitment scheme.

Published on June 20, 2022
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