Programs in News: Agnipath scheme for Armed Forces

Brajesh Mohan

 Programs in News: Agnipath scheme for Armed Forces. In a transformative reform, Cabinet clears ‘AGNIPATH’ scheme for recruitment of youth in the Armed Forces. 

Latest Programs and Policies are very important for RBI Grade B, NABARD Grade A Exam. The social issue part in Economics and social issue deals with government schemes and programs in RBI Grade B and NABARD Grade A Exam. This Article will provide you insight on recently launched Agnipath scheme for Armed Forces.

Programs in News: Agnipath scheme for Armed Forces

• Defense Minister Rajnath Singh unveiled a new scheme called ‘Agnipath’ for the recruitment of soldiers in the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, largely on a short-term contractual basis.

• The Cabinet Committee on Security approved the recruitment scheme.

• The soldiers selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers.

• The scheme was known at the proposal stage as the ‘Tour of Duty’ (ToD).

• 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.

Who will be recruited?

• Under the scheme, around 46,000 soldiers will be recruited this year between the ages of 17-and-a-half and 21 years into the three services.

• The recruitment will be based on an “all India, all class” basis that is set to change the composition of several regiments that recruit youths from specific regions.

• After completion of the four-year tenure of the recruits, the scheme provides for retaining 25 per cent of each specific batch for regular service, based on organizational requirements and policies promulgated by the armed forces from time to time.

• Women will also be inducted into Armed Forces under it.

• The scheme comes into immediate effect and will govern the enrolment for the three services for the recruitment process for personnel below officer rank (PBOR).

• The scheme aims to bring a paradigm shift in recruitment in the armed forces.

• It will help ensure optimum balance between youth and experience in the Army.

• The individuals selected for enrolment in the Armed Forces as regular cadre would be required to serve for a further engagement period of minimum 15 years and would be governed by the existing terms and conditions of service of Junior Commissioned Officers/Other Ranks in Indian Army and their equivalent in Indian Navy and Indian Air Force and that of non-combatant enrolled in the Indian Air Force, as amended from time to time.

What will be the salary for Agniveers?

• The monthly salary of an Agniveer in the first year of employment would be Rs 30,000 and the in-hand amount would be Rs 21,000 as Rs 9,000 would go to a corpus and the government will make an equal contribution per month.

• Subsequently, the monthly salary in the second, third and fourth year will be Rs 33,000, Rs 36,500 and Rs 40,000 respectively. 

• Each Agniveer will get an amount of Rs 11.71 lakh as ‘Seva Nidhi Package’ and it will be exempted from the income tax.

• There shall be no entitlement to gratuity and pensionary benefits.

• Agniveers will be provided non-contributory Life Insurance Cover of Rs 48 lakh for the duration of their engagement period in the Indian Armed Forces.

What will be the salary for Agniveers?

Benefits after their stint in Armed Forces

• The dividends of short military service to the nation, society and the youth of the nation are immense. This includes the inculcation of patriotism, teamwork, enhancement of physical fitness, ingrained loyalty for the country and availability of trained personnel to boost national security in times of external threats, internal threats and natural disasters. 

• Post this stint of four years, the Agniveers will be infused into the civil society where they can contribute immensely towards the nation building process. 

• The skills gained by each Agniveer will be recognized in a certificate to form part of his unique resume.

• Agniveers, on completion of the four year tenure, will be mature and self-disciplined with the realization to become a better version of himself/herself both professionally as also personally.  

• The avenues and opportunities that will open up for their progress in the civil world after Agniveer tenure would certainly be a big plus towards nation building.

• Moreover, the Seva Nidhi of approximately Rs 11.71 lakh would aid the Agniveer to pursue his/her future dreams without the financial pressure, which is normally the case for young people from the financially deprived strata of society.

Other key points of the scheme:

• It is a major defense policy reform to usher in a “new era” in the human resource policy of the three services.

• The scheme is also expected to cut the ballooning salary and pensions bills of the Armed Forces as there will be no entitlement to gratuity and pensionary benefits.

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

• It is envisaged that the average age profile of Indian Armed forces would come down by about 4-5 years by implementation of this scheme.

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