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'A Sensitive Decision': Amit Shah, BJP Laud Agnipath Scheme Amid Protests

Dubbing the scheme "transformational," Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar asked those protesting to remain peaceful.

Updated
India
4 min read
'A Sensitive Decision': Amit Shah, BJP Laud Agnipath Scheme Amid Protests
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Amid hundreds of agitated youth holding massive protests over the new Agnipath scheme in several states, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers continue to laud the Centre's scheme calling it beneficial for the youth.

The Centre's decision to increase the upper age limit for the Agnipath scheme for recruitment in defence services will benefit a large number of youth, Home Minister Amit Shah said on Friday.

"The recruitment process in the Army was affected due to the coronavirus pandemic for the last two years, so Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi ji has taken a sensitive decision, showing concern for the youth, to give them two years' concession in the age limit from 21 years to 23 years in the first year of Agnipath scheme," Shah said in a tweet in Hindi.

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'Agnipath Will Lead to More Recruitment in Army': BJP's Rajyavardhan Rathore

Meanwhile, BJP MP Rajyavardhan Rathore took to Instagram to explain the benefits of the scheme, saying that far more recruitment would take place under it compared to the current figures.

"One in every four persons will have the opportunity to serve in the Army for at least 15 years more," he added.

Addressing those prospective soldiers who will not be retained after the completion of their service, the MP said, "Those of you who will leave after four years, there will be no one in your age group who would have earned Rs 20 lakhs like you."

He also said that such persons would get preference for recruitment in the Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, and the police.

Meanwhile, Union Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw urged protesting youth to not damage coaches of trains.

"I appeal to the youth to not indulge in violent protests and not damage the property of the Railways. Railways are the property of the country."
Ashwini Vaishnaw told news agency ANI.
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'Golden Opportunity': Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari Hail Agnipath

"The 'Agneepath Yojana' announced by the central government is a golden opportunity for the youth of India to join the defence system of the country and serve the country. Due to the lack of recruitment in the army for the last two years, many youths could not get the opportunity to join the army," Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.

"I appeal to the youth that the process of recruitment in the army is going to start in a few days. They should start their preparation for it," he said.

Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, reiterated the same.

'These Protests Not Reflective of Entire Youth Mood,' BJP Spokesperson 

In an interview with The Indian Express, BJP National spokesperson Guru Prakash Paswan said that there has been a lot of misinformation pertaining to the scheme. He said, "There have been extensive consultations with former Army officers and servicemen before devising the scheme. It is a well-thought-out scheme. The Centre has raised age limit now."

He added that there are also clear-cut plans about the jobs that 75 percent Agniveers (recruits) would get after completion of their stint in defence forces. "Several states have also come up with assurances about giving priority to Agniveers in state police jobs," said the spokesperson.

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Army Chief Hails Government's Decision

Indian Army Chief General Manoj Pande on Friday said that the government's decision to raise the upper age limit will be beneficial to youths who were preparing to join the armed forces but couldn't do so in the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The decision of the government has been received to grant a one-time waiver, increasing the entry age of recruitment to 23 years, for the recruitment cycle of 2022," the army chief said in a statement.

"This decision will provide an opportunity for many of our young, energetic and patriotic youth who, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, were preparing to join the recruitment rallies, which couldn't be completed in the last two years due to COVID restrictions."
Army Chief General Manoj Pande

General Pande said that the schedule for the recruitment process will be announced in a few days.

Following protests in several states, the Centre on Thursday, 16 June, increased the upper age limit for recruitment into the armed forces under the Agnipath scheme from 21 to 23 for 2022.

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Navy Chief Calls the Scheme ‘Transformational'

Dubbing the scheme "transformational," Indian Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar said that "it is a made in India and a made for India scheme."

Kumar stated that he did not anticipate protests like this and asked those protesting to "not be violent and remain peaceful. They should read and understand the Agnipath scheme. This is an opportunity to serve the nation," ANI reported.

"It is a scheme of which I was part of the initial planning team and worked on it for almost a year and a half. And, now we see the scheme coming to its completion and introduction into the armed forces."
Indian Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar
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'Beneficial for Youth,' Says Air Force Marshal

Indian Air Force Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari also hailed the government's one-time relaxation with regard to the scheme.

Chaudhari announced that the recruitment process for the Indian Air Force will begin from 24 June.

"The government has announced Agnipath scheme under which youth will be able to join armed forces... Happy to announce that for the first recruitment, upper age limit revised to 23 years. It'll benefit the youth," he said.

The IAF chief also visited six forward bases on Friday, where he addressed troops about the details of the scheme.

(With inputs from ANI.)

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