10% reservation in Central Armed Police Forces, Assam Rifles for Agniveers
In a bid to assuage concerns over the 'Agnipath' scheme, the home ministry Saturday announced to reserve 10 per cent vacancies in the Central paramilitary forces and the Assam Rifles for 'Agniveers', besides a three-year relaxation in the upper age limit.
The announcement comes amid widespread protests against the recently unveiled scheme for recruitment of soldiers in the armed forces on a short-term contractual basis. The soldiers recruited under this scheme are to be called 'Agniveers'.
"The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) decides to reserve 10% vacancies for recruitment in CAPFs and Assam Rifles for Agniveers," a tweet of the Home Ministry said.
On the age-relaxation, it said, "The MHA also decides to give 3 years age relaxation beyond the prescribed upper age limit to Agniveers for recruitment in CAPFs & Assam Rifles."
"Further, for the first batch of Agniveer, the age relaxation will be for 5 years beyond the prescribed upper age limit."
At present, jawans between the age of 18-23 years are recruited in the paramilitary forces.
The Home Ministry's announcement is seen as a part of a slew of measures taken by the government to allay the concerns raised by youths protesting across the country against the scheme. They have also torched public and private property and attacked BJP offices at some places.
The finance ministry held a meeting on Thursday with the heads of public sector banks and financial institutions to explore employment opportunities for 'Agniveers' in their respective organisations.
It was also decided that banks would explore possibilities of supporting 'Agniveers' through suitable credit facilities for skill up-gradation, education for setting up businesses, and taking up self-employment.
The Skill Development Ministry had said the 'Agnipath' scheme will create a large pool of skilled youths who can contribute to India's overall defence preparedness as well as the growth of the economy.
"Skill India and Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship will work collaboratively with various wings of the Armed Forces to train the students in additional skills to make them better suited to these job roles," an official statement had said.
Besides, all '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 the economy after completion of their tenure, it added.
Several BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Assam have also announced various measures to encourage the youth to apply under the Agnipath scheme and assured them reservation in their states.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said the 'Agniveers' will be given priority in police and related services.
Similar announcements were made by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar who said his government will give preference to the 75 per cent soldiers who come back after four years as soldiers and seek government jobs.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced the state will give such retired soldiers priority in the state police jobs. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also said the retired soldiers will be given preference in the state police job.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) decides to reserve 10% vacancies for recruitment in CAPFs and Assam Rifles for Agniveers.— गृहमंत्री कार्यालय, HMO India (@HMOIndia) June 18, 2022
Currently, over 73,000 posts are vacant in five wings of the paramilitary forces - Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Shastra Seema Bal (SSB), and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), according to ndtv.com.
As many as 73,219 posts are vacant in CAPFs and Assam Rifles, suggests Union Home ministry data. Besides, 18,124 posts are also vacant in police forces in Union Territories.
The 10-lakh-strong CAPF is one of the largest employment generating agencies under the home ministry.
The protests against the new short-term military recruitment scheme, Agnipath, has boiled into a major issue for the government with protests now spreading to eight states despite assurances by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah and the Army chief.
Rajnath met with the top brass of the Army, Navy and the Air Force on Saturday to discuss the overall situation arising out of the rollout of the 'Agnipath' military recruitment scheme.
Among those present were Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar and Vice Chief of Army Staff Gen B S Raju. The focus of the meeting was to ensure a quick rollout of the 'Agnipath' scheme and ways to pacify the agitators.
Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande could not attend the meeting as he is in Hyderabad on an official tour.