New Delhi [India], June 21: As protests against the Agnipath scheme continues, the Department of Military Affairs on Tuesday clarified that there is no change in the recruitment process and the regimental process will be unchanged.
The decision comes amidst protests that erupted in several states after the centre unveiled the Agnipath scheme.
Under the scheme, people between 17.5 and 23 years will be recruited in the armed forces for a four-year period, followed by compulsory retirement for most without gratuity and pension benefits.
Moreover, on Sunday, the Indian Armed Forces-- Army, Navy and the Air Force-- announced a broad schedule for recruitment of soldiers under the Agnipath scheme.
Addressing a presser, Additional Secretary of the Department of Military Affairs, Lieutenant General Anil Puri said, "There is no change in the recruitment process. The regimental process will be unchanged. We will take an undertaking and aspirants have to submit a pledge that they were not involved in any arson/vandalism."
Highlighting that the Agnipath scheme balances three core elements, the DMA official said, "Agnipath scheme balances three things- youthful profile of the armed forces, technical savvy and adaptable people joining the Army and making the individuals future-ready."
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval also stated that "It is a paradox that India's youngest population has the oldest army. A nation with a huge population around the age of 25 years has the oldest army."
Reacting to this, the DMA official said, "No other country in the world has the demographic dividend as that of India. 50 per cent of our youth is under the age group of 25 years. The Army should make the most of it. We have to be reflective of this demographic dividend."
Department of Military Affairs also sharply reacted to protests raging in parts of the country over the scheme. Lt General Anil Puri said, "This is a matter of the security of our nation. Someone spread the rumour that old-timers of the Army will be sent to the Agniveer scheme. This is proven to be a piece of fake information."
Agnipath Scheme, which was approved by the cabinet on June 14, was launched in an effort to bring a change in the recruitment process of the Armed Forces. With the new military recruitment scheme facing criticism, the Centre has decided to bring a change in the upper age limit for recruiting Agniveers.