The Agnipath program hopes to transform the Indian Army in about 15 years into a largely volunteer force, with an average age of 27.
By Vikas Gupta
Defence News of India, 19 Jun 22
Doubling the implementation of theAgnipathe Yojanarecruitment programme, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said today that the number of volunteers recruited under the scheme will increase from 46,000 volunteers in each of the first four years, to 90,000 volunteers in the fifth year and 125,000 in the sixth year.
The trajectory of these numbers will transform the Indian Army in about 15 years into a largely volunteer force, with an average age of 27.
“In times to come, [the soldier’s average age] will go down to 26 years from 32 years. In six-seven years, we will be at 27 on average,” said Lieutenant General Anil Puri, additional secretary at the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), whom the Ministry of Defense sent to television on Saturday. to defend the Agnipathe Yojana.
Emphasizing that Agnipath was not about reducing personnel costs, Puri said the main goal of the program was to make the military younger, dynamic and tech-savvy.
“Don’t take this as a financial exercise. Focus instead on the Mohawk [the volunteers recruited under ‘Agnipath] and young people,” said Puri, adding, “There is no financial chapter in this project because [reducing manpower cost] is not the purpose of the exercise.
The enthronement of women under the Agnipath The program would be progressive, Puri said, and women would not be allowed in combat roles.
The general explained why the army believes that Agnipath will greatly improve the quality of personnel joining the three services: “There are 25 volunteers for every vacancy in the army, navy and air force. A second cut will be imposed at four years of service [when 75 per cent of a year’s intake is discharged from service]. This is the requirement of the time. The country deserved the best. Its soldiers must be adaptable to modern technology.
Puri also explained the skills of the volunteers who join Agnipath. “We will give 10e class pass recruits a 12e class certificate. And the recruits who passed the 12e class will graduate,” he said.
Asked about the subjects taught to volunteer recruits, Puri cited “physical education” as a skill for which credit would be given; and ‘supply chain management’, to learn how to deliver ammunition trucks to the forward line of troops. Credits would also be awarded for learning how to handle sophisticated equipment, such as specialized vehicles and weapons.
As street violence persists beyond the perception that the Agnipath result in the loss of employment opportunities, the government has proposed to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and industry to promise preferential employment for Mohawk who had completed their term of service.
MHA tweeted on Saturday: “MHA decides to set aside 10% vacancies for CAPF (Central Armed Police Force) and Assam Rifles recruitment for Mohawkcompleting four years under the Agnipath scheme.”
The MHA also tweeted that it would “allow three years of relaxation beyond the prescribed upper age limit, for Mohawk for recruitment into the CAPF and Assam Rifles. Moreover, for the first batch of Mohawkthe relaxation will be 5 years beyond the prescribed upper age limit.
This constitutes a significant reversal by the MHA after decades of resistance to filling vacancies for retired Department of Defense personnel in CAPF recruitment.
Puri said that the Mohawk who joined paramilitary and police forces would be effective with very little training. The MHA would only have to put them through a graduation school, where they would only need a two to three week orientation.
In the face of ongoing protests, the Ministry of Defense also announced a 10% quota in ministry jobs, split between the coast guard and civilian defense posts and the 16 public sector defense companies. This would be in addition to existing reservations for veterans.
The government has also approached the private sector to fill vacancies with retirees. Mohawk. Anurag Jain, Secretary of the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) spoke to 85 industries including Bharat Forge, Ambani Group and foreign companies such as Apple for job reservations to retirees. Mohawk.
“Industry leaders have told the government, ‘You give us discipline, we’ll do the finishing school,’ so hiring Agnipath graduates won’t be a problem,” Puri said.
Apple’s Indian chief Virat Bhatia told Jain, “We’re going to assemble an Apple (computer) in two months with these guys,” according to Puri.
The general issued a stern warning against street violence led by young people worried about potential job losses.
“In the next 48 hours, recruitment will begin. Young people need [get off the streets] and get their certificates and get fit [since Covid-19 lockdowns have restricted their fitness levels]”, Puri said. “We do not support arson in any way.”