Rahul Gandhi or Rajnath Singh: Whose Claims on the Agnipath Scheme Are True?

We look into the truth behind all the claims related to compensation, martyrdom and pension for Agniveers, here.

6 min read

On 1 July, during the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address, the Leader of the Opposition and Congress MP from Raebareli Rahul Gandhi criticised the Central government's Agnipath scheme, stating that the government neither gave pension nor the status of a martyr to those serving under the scheme.

During this speech, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh alleged that Gandhi had presented incorrect information about the scheme. Singh claimed that Agniveers are given a compensation of one crore rupees upon martyrdom.

Let us carefully examine how much truth there is to both leaders' claims.

What Did Rahul Gandhi Say?

"A few days ago, I met with a family of an Agniveer in Punjab. There was a small house. An Agniveer was martyred in a landmine house. I am calling him a martyr, but the Indian government does not. Narendra Modi does not call him a martyr. Narendra Modi calls him an Agniveer. That house will not receive a pension, they will not receive any compensation, he will not get the status of a martyr. The poor people, they were sitting there, three sisters, crying together. The common soldier will get pension and he will definitely feel sad, but the Indian government will help the common soldier. But an Agniveer cannot be called a soldier, they are like 'use-and-throw' labourers. You train him for six months! On the other hand, a Chinese soldier is trained for five years. You give (the Agniveer) a rifle, and put him in front of (Chinese soldiers). You create fear in his heart, you create division between one soldier and the next — that one will receive pension and the other will not.
Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi's statement can be heard at the 45-minute mark in the video, uploaded on Sansad TV's verified YouTube channel.

What Did Rajnath Singh Say?

Asking to speak in the middle of Gandhi's speech, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's request was approved by Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla. Singh then said,

"Speaker sir, I would like to ask the Leader of the Opposition not to mislead the House by making false statements. Under the Agniveer scheme, if any of the people are martyred, an amount of one crore rupees is allotted to their family. Such misrepresentations should not be made in order to attempt to mislead the Parliament."
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
Now, let us explore the Leader of the Opposition and the Defence Minister's claims one-by-one, starting with Rahul Gandhi.

Did Rahul Gandhi Correctly Claim That Agniveers Do Not Get ‘Martyr’ Status?

We did not find any mention of the word 'martyr' in any official document related to the Agniveer scheme.

  • However, it should be noted that in 2015, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju had said that the word "Martyr" should not be used for any soldier of the Indian Army and security personnel, while responding to a question in the Lok Sabha.

We look into the truth behind all the claims related to compensation, martyrdom and pension for Agniveers, here.

Deceased members of the armed and security forces are not referred to as 'martyrs'.

(Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB)/Screenshot)

However, it is clearly written in the rules of Agnipath scheme that after the completion of four years of service, Agniveers will not get any facility, such as gratuity, health schemes, canteens, and others, which are available to ex-servicemen.

We look into the truth behind all the claims related to compensation, martyrdom and pension for Agniveers, here.

The Terms and Conditions of the Agnipath Scheme.

(Source: Indian Army/Screenshot)

In October 2023, during the funeral of Agniveer Amritpal Singh, a resident of Punjab, he was not given a Guard of Honour, which prompted the Opposition to raise questions. The late Singh's body was taken to his house in a private vehicle.

After the matter escalated to a controversy, the Indian Army clarified that since Amritpal Singh succumbed to a self-inflicted injury, he was not given a Guard of Honour.

When Agniveer Is Martyred, Does the Family Not Get Pension?

Here, Gandhi's statement is true. It is clearly written on the website of the Indian Army that after his death, the Agniveer will not get the pension facilities which are provided under the rules of the Indian Army.

We look into the truth behind all the claims related to compensation, martyrdom and pension for Agniveers, here.

Agniveers are not provided the same pension facilities.

(Source: Indian Army/Screenshot)

Is a Compensation of One Crore Rupees Provided to the Family of a Martyred Agniveer Jawan? How True Is Rajnath Singh’s Claim?

According to the rules, an Agniveer soldier who is martyred while on duty gets an insurance cover of Rs 48 lakh and a compensation of Rs 44 lakh.

  • Apart from this, the family also gets the salary for the remaining period of service of the jawan, out of a total of four years. The contribution given by the government, and interest received on the amount till then, is deposited soldier's 'Seva Nidhi Fund'.

  • If an Agniveer is in service but has not died while on duty, then only the insurance cover of Rs 48 lakh and the government's contribution to the service fund, along with interest, is given to the family of the soldier.

  • Whereas, an Agniveer who becomes disabled while on duty is given compensation according to the percentage of disability, which ranges from Rs 15 lakh to 45 lakh.

  • Along with this, the disabled Agniveer gets the amount which is made up of the amount deposited in the Seva Nidhi Fund, its interest, and the government's contribution to it. They also get the entire salary for the remaining period of service.

We look into the truth behind all the claims related to compensation, martyrdom and pension for Agniveers, here.

The computation and compensation for disability or death.

(Source: Indian Army/Screenshot)

It is evident that the compensation given in case of an Agniveer's death or disability is different under different circumstances. It is not that every martyred Agniveer gets one crore rupees, as Rajnath Singh claimed. Rahul Gandhi's claim that Agniveer does not get any compensation is also not completely true.

Agniveer Akshay Gawte lost his life while on duty last year. His father has confirmed that his family received an amount of Rs 1.08 crore, which also includes the compensation received from the state government.

Gawte died while he was deployed at the Siachen Glacier, which is at a height of 20,000 feet. While the cause of his death was not revealed during the initial reports, however, his father later said that Army officers had informed him that his son died due to a heart attack while on duty.


A report published in The Hindu carried the statement of Laxman Gawte, father of Agniveer Akshay Gawte. He said that the family got Rs 48 lakh as insurance cover, Rs 50 lakh from the Central Government, and Rs 10 lakh from the State Government. Gawte had also demanded that his daughter, i.e. Agniveer Akshay's sister, should be given a job.

This case itself proves that the martyr's family does not get the entire amount of one crore rupees from the Central Government.

The Quint had also published a video on its YouTube channel, which showed Singh and Gandhi sparring on the 'Agniveer' Scheme. Watch our video below to find out the exchange of points between both leaders.

What is the Agniveer Scheme?: The Government of India launched the Agnipath scheme on 16 June 2022, for recruitments in the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force.

  • Under this scheme, soldiers between the ages of 17.5 and 23 are recruited in the forces for a period of four years.

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