New Delhi: As nationwide protests against the Agnipath scheme entered Day 4, various Union ministries have announced several beneficial measures to ensure support to Agniveers after their four-year service in the armed forces. The Centre on Saturday announced several incentives including reserving 10 per cent vacancies in its paramilitary and the defence ministry for ‘Agniveers’ and further said it will look into any grievance about the new military recruitment scheme “with an open mind”.Also Read – Assam Reports Protests Against Agnipath Scheme, NFR Cancels Few Trains
Notably, ever since the scheme was launched by the government, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and several state governments have announced that Agniveers, after serving armed forces for 4 years, will be given preference in filling of vacancies in police forces. Several other departments have also announced support to the Agnipath scheme. Meanwhile, states like Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Karnataka have already announced supportive measures for the Agniveers post-retirement from services after four years in the Armed Forces. Also Read – Agnipath Protest: Rajasthan Imposes Section 144 in Kota, Demands Withdrawal of Agnipath Scheme
List of supportive measures announced by the government for Agniveers:
1. Reservation in posts of Coast Guard and Defence PSUs for Agniveers
- Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday approved a proposal to reserve 10 per cent of the job vacancies in the Ministry of Defence for Agniveers meeting requisite eligibility criteria.
- The 10 per cent reservation will be implemented in the Indian Coast Guard and defence posts, and all the 16 Defence Public Sector Undertakings (HAL, BEL, BEML, BDL, GRSE, GSL, HSL, MDL, Midhani, AVNL, AWEIL, MIL, YIL, GIL, IOL, TCL).
- Necessary age relaxation provision will also be made to enable recruitment of Agniveers to the above posts.
2. Age relaxation for first-year recruitment for Agniveers
- A day after the launch of the scheme, the government announced that it has decided to increase the upper age limit for the recruitment of Agniveers from 21 years to 23 years for the recruitment cycle of 2022.
- “The decision was taken in view of the fact that recruitment was not possible for the last two years,” said government sources.
- In a statement, Rajnath Singh said that the Department of Military Affairs, Ministry of Defence and the Services are committed to commencing the recruitment process at the earliest.
3. Recruitment in CAPFs for Agniveers
- Home Ministry has decided to reserve 10 per cent vacancies for recruitment in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Assam Rifles for Agniveers.
- Home Ministry has further announced that it will give three years of age relaxation to Agniveers beyond the prescribed upper age limit to recruitments in CAPFs and Assam Rifles.
- For the first batch of Agniveers, the age relaxation will be of 5 years.
4. Recruitment in Merchant Navy for Agniveers
- Directorate General of Shipping under the Ministry of Ports Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) along with the Indian Navy announced a system for the smooth induction of the Agniveers into the Merchant Navy.
- Under this, MoPSW announced six attractive service avenues for a smooth transition of Agniveers in various roles of the Merchant navy, post their stint with the Indian Navy.
- These measures for Agniveers include transition from Ratings in Indian Navy to Certified Ratings in Merchant Navy, transition from Electrical Ratings in Indian Navy to Certified Electro-Technical Ratings in Merchant Navy, transition from Ratings in Indian Navy to Certified Class IV-NCV CoC holder in Merchant Navy,
- Transition from Electrical Ratings in Indian Navy to Certified Electro-Technical Officers in Merchant Navy and transition from Cook in Indian Navy to Certified Cook Merchant Navy.
- The MoSPW will issue INDOS and CDC for those Agniveers who intend to explore in any of the said measures through Indian Navy.
- Some of the measures are devised for Agniveers with Diploma in Mechanical or Electrical Engineering or ITI Trade Certificate in Electronic or Electrical stream – either joining with these qualifications or acquiring these during their tenure with the Indian Navy.
5. NIOS to facilitate 12th pass certificate for 10th pass Agniveers
- The National Institute of Open Schooling, announced that it will institute a special programme in consultation with the Defence Authorities to enable those Agniveers who are 10th class pass to further their education and obtain a 12th class pass certificate by developing customized courses that are not only current but very relevant to their area of service.
- This certificate is recognised for both employment and higher education purposes in the whole country.
- This will benefit the Agniveers to gain adequate educational qualification and skills to take up the productive role in society later in life.
6. Degree programme by Education Ministry for Agniveers
- Ministry of Education has decided to launch a special, three-year skill-based bachelor’s degree programme for serving defence personnel that will recognize the skill training received by them during their tenure in the defence establishments to enhance the future career prospects of Agniveers and to equip them for various job roles in the civilian sector.
- The government further informed that the programme has been designed by IGNOU and will also be executed by them.
- 50 per cent of the credits required for a graduate degree will come from the skill training — both technical and non-technical — received by the Agniveer,
- The remaining 50% will come from a basket of courses that cover a wide variety of subjects like languages, Economics, History, Political Science, Public Administration, Sociology, Mathematics, Education, Commerce, Tourism, Vocational Studies, Agriculture and Jyotish, as also Ability Enhancement Courses on Environmental Studies and Communication Skills in English,” sources told news agency ANI.
- It also has a provision for multiple exit points – Undergraduate Certificate on successful completion of the first-year courses, Undergraduate Diploma on successful completion of the first and second-year courses, and Degree on completion of all the courses in a three-year time frame.
7. Skill development for entrepreneurship and jobs for Agniveers
- Skill India and the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) will work collaboratively with various wings of the Armed Forces to train the students in additional skills to make them better suited for civilian jobs.
- Agniveers will get Skill India certification while in service, which will enable them to pursue many diverse opportunities in entrepreneurship and job roles that are being created in our economy after completion of their tenure.
8. Credit facilities for Agniveers
- In order to identify ways in which the banks and financial institutions can support the Agniveers on completion of their tenure of duty, the Public Sector Banks (PSBs), Public Sector Insurance Companies (PSICs) and Financial Institutions (FIs) would explore employment opportunities for Agniveers in suitable capacities based on their educational qualifications and skills through suitable benefits/relaxations etc.
- It is decided that banks would explore possibilities of supporting Agniveers through suitable credit facilities for skill upgradation, education for setting up businesses and to take up self-employment.
- The existing Government schemes such as MUDRA, Stand Up India etc would be leveraged for extending such support to Agniveers.
9. Preferential recruitment in state police forces for Agniveers
- Several state governments have announced that Agniveers, after serving the armed forces for 4 years, will be given preference in filling of vacancies in state police forces.
- The state police forces will greatly benefit from the training and discipline inculcated to Agniveers by the armed forces and their capabilities in tackling insurgency, Naxalism and natural disasters will be hugely augmented.
10. Corporate sector to utilize the training and skills of Agniveers
Several corporate houses and industry bodies have welcomed the new and transformative recruitment process for the armed forces. The well-trained, disciplined and technologically savvy youth who finish their service to the armed forces will be valuable assets to their organizations, they said. Also Read – Shipping Ministry Announces 6 Attractive Service Opportunities For Agniveers. Details Here
Under the Agnipath scheme, people between the ages of 17.5 and 21 years will be recruited into the military service of their choice for four years. After this tenure, 25% of the Agniveers will be retained and the remaining 75% will be permitted to return to civilian life.
The introduction of the scheme, which has triggered nationwide protests by armed forces aspirants, has raised questions as to what Agniveers will do after they have completed their four years of service.