Govt announces ‘AGNIPATH’ scheme for 4-year service in Armed Forces

at 7:45 pm
Meeting of Union Cabinet (File pic)

New Delhi: The government of India today announced a novel scheme ‘AGNIPATH’ to enable youth to serve in the Armed Forces for a period of 4 years.

The policy, which comes into immediate effect, will hereafter govern the enrolment for the three services, said an official statement issued after the proposal was cleared by the Union Cabinet at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The average age of the Indian soldiers today is around 32 years which will come down to 26 years in the next 6-7 years, according to officials.

The youth selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers. 

“It will provide an opportunity to the youth who may be keen to don the uniform by attracting young talent from the society who are more in tune with contemporary technological trends and plough back skilled, disciplined and motivated manpower into the society,” the statement said.

“As for the Armed Forces, it will enhance the 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 government statement said.

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

The government said the dividends of a short military service to the nation, society and the youth of the nation are immense.

This includes inculcation of patriotism, team work, 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, it added.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the move was an attempt to make the profile of the armed forces youthful besides increasing employment opportunities in the countries.

“It is a transformative reform for recruitment of youth in the Armed Forces,” he said addressing a press conference here on the subject.
AGNIPATH is a merit-based recruitment scheme for enrolling Army Soldiers, Airmen and sailors.
“Youthful profile of soldiers would mean that they can be easily trained for new technologies, and their level of health and fitness will also be better,” Singh said.
Besides a “good pay package” and ‘seva nidhi’ package on exit after 4 years of service, the ‘agniveers’ will be entitled to “a liberal ‘death and disability package’,” he said.

Under the scheme, the Agniveers will be enrolled in the Forces under respective Service Acts for a period of four years.

They would form a distinct rank in the Armed Forces, different from any other existing ranks.

Upon the completion of four years of service, based on organisational requirement and policies promulgated by the Armed Forces from time-to-time, Agniveers will be offered an opportunity to apply for permanent enrolment in the Armed Forces.

These applications will be considered in a centralised manner based on objective criteria including performance during their four-year engagement period and up to 25% of each specific batch of Agniveers will be enrolled in regular cadre of the Armed Forces.

Detailed guidelines will be issued separately.

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.

They 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.

Enrolment will be undertaken through an online centralised system for all three services with specialised rallies and campus interviews from recognised technical institutes such as Industrial Training Institutes and National Skills Qualifications Framework, among others.

Enrolment will be based on ‘All India All Class’ basis and the eligible age will be in range from 17.5 to 21 years.