“Government has shown sensitivity by increasing age limit.”
— Amit Shah
“This is an opportunity for youth to join defence
— S. Jaishankar
“I am urging the youth to serve the country through the scheme.”
— Rajnath Singh
“The scheme is transformational for armed forces.”
— R. Hari Kumar
“Stop compromising dignity, traditions, valour and discipline of our forces.”
— Rahul Gandhi
“Scheme being imposed on youth in a hurry.”
— Priyanka Gandhi
“4-year service too short for soldier.”
— Amarinder Singh
“Criminal to ask youth to make supreme sacrifice without any job security.”
— Sitaram Yechury
While certain politicians have praised the Agnipath scheme, there are others with strong reservations and asked to scrap this anti-national scheme. The leaders seem to be divided on the scheme that was recently launched by the government in an effort to bring a change in the recruitment process of the Armed Forces. The youth selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers. Agnipath allows patriotic and motivated youth to serve in the Armed Forces for a period of four years.
With the new military recruitment scheme facing a backlash by Opposition, the Centre decided to bring a change in the upper age limit for recruiting Agniveers. Granting a one-time waiver, the Centre on Thursday, announced that the Agniveer upper age limit for recruitments via Agnipath Scheme has been extended to 23 years from 21 years. It is envisaged that the average age profile of the Indian Armed forces would come down by about 4-5 years by the implementation of this scheme. Here are some of the views of leaders.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted, “The recruitment process in the Army was affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic for the last two years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji, in the ‘Agneepath Yojana’, cares for youth. The government has shown sensitivity by deciding that this time the age limit for the recruitment of Agniveers should be increased from 21 to 23 years.”
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “The Agnipath scheme by the Central government gives a golden opportunity to the youth of the country to join the defence system and serve the country. Due to a snag in the recruitment process in the army for two years, many youths did not get the opportunity to join the army. This is a fact. That is why, keeping in mind the future of the youth and showing sensitivity towards them, with the approval of the Prime Minister, the government has decided that this time the age limit for the recruitment of Agniveers should be increased from 21 to 23 years.”
External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar tweeted, “Modi Government’s Agnipath Scheme is an opportunity for India’s youth to join the defence forces and serve the nation. PM Narendra Modi’s decision of increasing the age limit for Agniveers shows sensitivity towards those whose dreams were impacted due to the covid pandemic. ”
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R. Hari Kumar termed the Agnipath scheme as one of the most transformational schemes for the armed forces. It gives an opportunity for the youth to participate and contribute toward Desh Seva.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “When India faces threats on two fronts, the uncalled for Agnipath scheme reduces the operational effectiveness of our armed forces. The BJP govt. must stop compromising the dignity, traditions, valour & discipline of our forces.”
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi said, “Not even 24 hours have passed within which the BJP government had to change the rules of new army recruitment scheme. It means that the plan is being imposed on the youth in a hurry. PM Narendra Modi ji, please withdraw this scheme immediately. At first, you should give an appointment (letters) and result in the recruitment of the Air Force. Do army recruitment (with age relaxation) as before. ”
Former Punjab Chief Minister and Punjab Lok Congress president and an ex-serviceman Captain Amarinder Singh said, “Four-year service is too short for a soldier. Hiring soldiers for four years, with effective service of three years, is not at all militarily a good idea. Why the government of India needed to make such radical changes in the recruitment policy, which has been working so well for the country for so many years? I oppose the “All India, All Class” recruitment policy as it will dilute the long-existing distinct ethos of regiments.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted, “Agnipath scheme does a disservice to India’s national security. Criminal to ask youth to make supreme sacrifice without any job security. Strengthen regular army recruitment.” He had earlier tweeted, “Instead of raising a professional Army Modi govt. proposes ‘soldiers on contract’ to save pension money! Training contract soldiers with no other prospects after 3-5 years but to serve private militias! Scrap this anti-national scheme.”