Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma
The Centre on Tuesday, 14 June, launched the 'Agnipath' scheme, for the recruitment of soldiers in the Army, Navy, and Air Force – largely on a short-term contractual basis, with an aim to cut the ballooning salary and pensions bill.
The average age profile in the forces is 32 years, and is expected to go down by at least six years. Once recruited, these soldiers will be called 'Agniveers.'
What exactly is the scheme? Who is eligible to be recruited? Here's all you need to know.
What exactly is the 'Agnipath' scheme?
According to the Centre, at least 40,000 to 50,000 soldiers will be recruited annually under this scheme – most of whom will leave the scheme in four years.
Around 25 percent of the 'Agniveers' will be allowed to serve for another 15 years, under permanent commission. In the larger scheme of things, this new policy will reduce the defence pension bill – a concern for the government at the Centre.
The scheme is available only at soldier level and not officer level.
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 is eligible to apply?
The candidates between the ages of 17.5 years and 21 years will be eligible to apply.
However, the other criteria for recruitment remain the same.
The recruitment will be done twice a year.
When will the recruitment begin?
The recruitment process will begin in the next 90 days, the Centre announced. The first batch is expected to be selected by July 2023.
Are women allowed to join the armed forced under the 'Agnipath' scheme?
Yes, women will also be inducted in the ‘Agnipath' scheme. Stay tuned to this space for more information on this.
What happens once the recruits are selected?
Once selected, the recruits will go through training for six months and then will be deployed in either the Army, Navy or Air Force for three and a half years.
What will be the salary for the 'Agniveers'?
They will get a starting salary of Rs 30,000, along with additional benefits. This will go up to Rs 40,000 by the end of the four-year service. The government will also set aside 30 percent of the salary, every month, under the Seva Nidhi scheme – and also contribute an equal amount every month. This will accrue interest and benefit the 'Agniveers.'
Will Agniveers be eligible for pension?
No, they will not be eligible for pension or gratuity benefits. For the 25 percent who do apply for permanent commission, the first four years will not be taken into count.
How can I apply?
The following armed forces websites will provide information about the application process and vacancies: