Protests erupted in Muzaffarpur, Buxar, and other parts of Bihar on Wednesday, 15 June, a day after the Centre introduced Agnipath, a recruitment scheme for the armed services.
The protesters questioned the long-term prospects of the job and claimed that they expected regular recruitment rallies to restart after two years, but were instead offered this scheme.
"Merely four years of service will mean we will have to study for other jobs after that, and be left behind by others our age," a demonstrator told NDTV.
Following the commencement of the coronavirus epidemic two years ago, regular recruitment rallies were suspended, but have not resumed. Protests had erupted in various cities around the country in recent months as a result of this.
The Agnipath Scheme
The scheme allows for the induction of about 45,000 people aged 17.5 to 21 years into the military for a four-year period. Recruitment for the same is supposed to begin in the next 90 days, with the first wave expected to arrive in July 2023.
Furthermore, there will be a six-month training period during which they would be paid a monthly wage of Rs 30,000-40,000 as allowances. Candidates will be able to obtain insurance and medical benefits as well.
Only 25 percent of these troops will be retained after four years, and they will serve for a total of 15 years in non-officer ranks.
The remaining employees will receive a package worth between Rs 11 lakh and Rs 12 lakh when they leave the service, but they will not be eligible for pension benefits.
Under the Seva Nidhi system, the government will set aside 30 percent of the pay each month and contribute an equal amount each month. The 'Agniveers' will benefit from the interest.
The new policy has been met with criticism and inquiries from a variety of sources, including veterans. Critics claim that a four-year term will sap the fighting spirit of the troops and make them risk-averse.
Major General Birender Dhanoa, an army veteran, in his tweet wrote, "Two serious recommendations to the just announced recruitment policy for the armed forces:
Increase the service period of new recruits to a minimum of seven years.
Make the retention of those keen to serve longer at least 50 percent."
(With inputs from NDTV.)
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