Nation

Centre extends age limit for Agnipath scheme from 21 to 23 years amid protests

By Shefali Kohli -- June 17, 2022 7:35 am -- Updated:June 17, 2022 7:35 am

New Delhi [India], June 17: The Central government extended the upper age limit for the Agnipath recruitment scheme from 21 years to 23 years amid massive protests against the scheme in different parts of the country.

The age waiver will be given only "one time" for the proposed recruitment cycle for 2022, informed the Defence Ministry.

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Also Read: 'Agnipath' protests turn violent in Bihar, Haryana; vehicles set afire

The decision has been taken as no recruitment had taken place in the last two years.

"Consequent to the commencement of the Agnipath scheme, the entry age for all new recruits in the Armed Forces has been fixed as 17.5 to 21 years of age. Cognizant of the fact that it has not been possible to undertake the recruitment during the last two years, the Government has decided that a one-time waiver shall be granted for the proposed recruitment cycle for 2022. Accordingly, the upper age limit for the recruitment process for the Agnipath scheme for 2022 is increased to 23 years," the Defence Ministry statement reads.

Some aspirants for the armed forces are unhappy with the changes introduced under the new recruitment scheme, particularly the length of service, no pension provisions for those released early, and the 17.5 to 21-year age restriction that now makes many of them ineligible.

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Agitations spilt over to several districts as youths protested by lying down on the railway tracks, and blocking roads, demanding the scrapping of the scheme.

Huge crowds gathered in the Bihar's Chhapra, Jehanabad, Munger and Nawada areas of Bihar, demanding the withdrawal of the Agnipath scheme. A group of army aspirants protested at Bhabua Road Railway Station and blocked the tracks before setting a train on fire.

People hit the streets in Haryana's Palwal against the Agnipath scheme for recruitment of youths to defence services. Following this, the Police personnel deployed at the DC residence in Palwal resorted to aerial firing to warn protesters who were pelting stones at the residence.

Several police vehicles were torched, several roadways’ buses were damaged in stone-pelting and the National Highway 19 was also blocked. The Police used tear gas shells and fired in the air to control the mob. Amid the protest, local authorities suspended Internet and SMS services for some time. It was withdrawn later. To keep the situation under control, Section 144 has been imposed in Palwal.

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The Agnipath Scheme has been designed to enable a youthful profile of the Armed Forces and provide a fresh lease of 'Josh' and 'Jazba' whilst at the same time bring about a transformational shift towards a more tech-savvy Armed Forces - which is indeed the need of the hour, the defence ministry highlighted.

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The selection will be the exclusive jurisdiction of the Armed Forces. A total of 46,000 Agniveers will be recruited this year.

-PTC News

 

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