New Dehi, June 14:
Union defence minister Rajnath Singh and the three service chiefs on Tuesday introduced the short-term defence recruitment policy called Agnipath at a press conference. “The Cabinet Committee on Security has taken a historic decision today to approve the transformative scheme of ‘Agnipath’. Under this, Indian youth would be granted an opportunity to get inducted into the Armed services,” the defence minister said.
Army chief General Manoj Pande, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and Navy chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar were present during the announcement of the defence recruitment scheme.
“Under the ‘Agnipath’ scheme, efforts are to create a youthful profile of the Armed forces. It would help to train them for new technologies & also improve their health levels. This scheme will increase employment opportunities with new skills in different sectors,” the minister added.
“The recruitment model is based on all-India merit-based selection process. We are looking at the best to serve the armed forces between the ages of 17.5 to 21 years. Once selected, ‘Agniveers’ will serve for 4 years with us,” Lt Gen Anil Puri, Additional Secretary, Dept of Military Affairs, said.
Some of the salient features of the ‘Agnipath’ defence recruitment scheme are as follows
1. The recruitments under Agnipath scheme will be open to men and women progressively based on service requirements. The applicants between the age of 17 and a half and 21 years will be eligible under the scheme.
2. The medical and physical fitness requirements will be as per existing norms. Those candidates having passed their 10th and 12th examinations will be considered eligible as per armed forces.
3. As far as the compensation package is considered, the ‘Agniveers’ will be paid ₹4.76 lakhs per annum in the first year which will be hiked to ₹6.92 lakhs in the fourth year of service.
4. The Risk, Hardship and other allowances will be applicable as per the existing norms. On completion of four years in service, a sum of ₹11.7 lakhs including contribution and interest.
5. The 30 per cent emoluments will be contributed by ‘Agniveers’ and equal matching amount will be contributed by the central government.
6. The Seva Nidhi Package will be exempted from income tax.
7. After completion of fours years in service, the ‘Agniveers’ will get an opportunity to apply voluntarily for regular cadre. Based on merit and organisational requirement, up to 25 per cent shall be selected from that batch. A robust assessment system is being developed which will be transparent, objective, automated and centrally maintained.
8. For supreme sacrifice in the line of duty during the tenure, a non-contributary insurance cover kept for each ‘Agniveer’ worth ₹1 crore plus full pay for the unserved period.
9. In case an ‘Agniveer’ gets disabled during the tenure, there will be full payment for the unserved portion as well as Seva Nidhi package with full interest. Besides this, the scheme has provision for ₹44 lakh based on percentage of disability.
10. The first rally of ‘Agniveers’ will begin 90 days from today.