BJP MP Varun Gandhi to Rajnath Singh: ‘Agnipath’ would increase youth discontent

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BJP MP Varun Gandhi on Thursday questioned various sections of the Centre’s ‘Agnipath’ scheme, which envisages the recruitment of soldiers on a short-term contractual basis, and claimed it will cause greater discontent among the youths. He also requested the administration to make its position clear.

Gandhi stated in a letter to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh that the young population has expressed their concerns and questions about the radical changes in the soldier recruitment process, which also proposes that 75% of recruits under the scheme will retire after four years of service without receiving a pension.

Because 75% of troops will be “unemployed” after four years and their total numbers will continue to climb every year, Gandhi believes there will be increasing discontent among the youth.

He wondered what the chances were for these retired troops, given that the private sector isn’t interested in hiring even normal military people who leave after 15 years.

Four years of service will disrupt their education, and they will have difficulty finding another job or furthering their studies because they will be older than others with same qualifications, he said, adding that they will also endure financial hardship.

According to the Lok Sabha MP, these soldiers with barely six months of basic training may cause disruption to existing regimental formations.

The initiative will waste training costs and prove to be an unneeded burden on the defence budget, he claims in his letter to Singh, because just 25% of the ‘Agnives’ will stay after four years.

He believes the government should prioritise the interests of unemployed youth and highlight numerous policy components of this project.

On Tuesday, the government launched “Agnipath,” a “transformative” programme for recruiting personnel in the Army, Navy, and Air Force, primarily on a four-year short-term contract basis. Officials claim that this will bring in fitter and younger personnel to deal with the country’s future security challenges.

“Under the ‘Agnipath’ initiative, Indian youngsters would be offered with the option to serve in the armed forces as ‘Agniveer,'” Singh stated during the event. This programme was implemented to improve the country’s security. It’s a game-changing plan.”