Agnipath Scheme may be modified, Indian Army reviews changes in scheme

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The Indian Army has recently conducted a review of the Agnipath scheme and has put forth several recommendations to enhance its effectiveness. The Agnipath scheme aims to reduce the pension bill and bolster youth recruitment in the armed forces. However, concerns have been raised regarding the training and expertise of newly recruited soldiers. In response to these concerns, the Indian Army has proposed various measures to improve the scheme.

Key Recommendations:

  1. Increase the Percentage of Agniveers: The Indian Army suggests raising the percentage of Agniveers who join regular service after completing four years from the current 25 percent to 60-70 percent. This increase in inclusion aims to ensure that a higher number of Agniveers gain the necessary experience and training.
  2. Extend the Service Period: The Army recommends extending the service period for Agniveers from four years to 7-8 years. This longer service duration will allow for more comprehensive training and a greater opportunity to acquire operational skills and expertise.
  3. Adjust the Entry Age for Technical Fields: The Indian Army proposes increasing the entry age for Agniveers in technical fields to 23 years. This adjustment takes into account the specific requirements and demands of these roles and aims to ensure that recruits have the necessary maturity and qualifications.
  4. Provide Ex-Gratia for Disability During Training: The Army suggests that ex-gratia should be provided for disabilities incurred during training. This recommendation aims to support and compensate individuals who may face challenges or injuries during their training period.
  5. Handle Exit Management Professionally: The Indian Army proposes that exit management should be handled by a professional agency. By involving experts in this process, the Army hopes to ensure a smooth transition for those leaving the service and provide them with appropriate support and guidance.
  6. Subsistence Allowance for Families of Fallen Agniveers: In the unfortunate event of an Agniveer losing their life in war, the Indian Army recommends providing a subsistence allowance to support their family. This measure aims to acknowledge the sacrifices made by these soldiers and offer financial assistance to their loved ones.

Importance of Improving the Agnipath Scheme:

If recruitment from the Agnipath scheme were to be discontinued, the Indian Army would face a significant shortage of non-officer personnel. It is estimated that filling this shortage would take more than a decade. Therefore, it is crucial to enhance the Agnipath scheme to recruit soldiers more efficiently and provide them with comprehensive training. This will help maintain a young and capable force while also reducing the pension bill.

Addressing Concerns of Experience and Expertise:

To address concerns about the lack of experience and expertise among newly recruited soldiers, the Indian Army suggests extending the service period and increasing the inclusion percentage. By allowing Agniveers to serve for a longer duration and including a higher percentage of them in regular service, the Army aims to ensure that they gain sufficient experience and training. This will contribute to the overall operational efficiency of the armed forces.

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In conclusion, the recommendations put forth by the Indian Army for the Agnipath scheme focus on improving the inclusion and training of Agniveers. These measures aim to maintain operational efficiency, address concerns related to the lack of experience and expertise among new recruits, and create a young and capable force profile.

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