Recruitment Agnipath Scheme: Two days after the Centre announced the Agnipath Scheme, under which troops will be recruited into the Army on a four-year contract basis, protests broke out in Bihar and Rajasthan, as defence job aspirants expressed concerns about job security and pension.
Army aspirants set fire to the Intercity Express and ransacked the station platform at Kaimur Bhabua Road railway station in Bihar on Thursday. Earlier on Wednesday, army aspirants disrupted train and road traffic in a number of Bihar districts in protest of the “Agnipath” programme, according to the news agency PTI.
More than a hundred young men stormed the Buxar railway station and sat on the tracks, delaying the Patna-bound Janshatabdi Express for about 30 minutes.
They chanted anti-scheme slogans until security officers led by RPF inspector Deepak Kumar and GRP SHO Ramashish Prasad arrived and told them not to obstruct train traffic, as Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had announced the day before.
Demonstrators allegedly threw stones at the Pataliputra Express as it passed by the station, according to reports in the regional media, though both Kumar and Prasad denied this.
A large number of Army aspirants in Muzaffarpur expressed their rage by igniting tyres on the roads surrounding the massive “Chakkar Maidan,” where they assemble in large numbers for physical tests required for jawan enlistment.
They were furious when they learned of the new work regulations, which came after two years of “no recruiting” by the military forces despite passing the required physical exams.
Many Army recruits marched to the Collectorate, where they presented the District Magistrate with a memorandum.
Army candidates in Begusarai, many of whom were NCC cadets, staged a rally at Mahadev Chowk, demanding the cancellation of the Agnipath scheme.
Meanwhile, Tejashwi Yadav, the state’s opposition leader, sent a flurry of tweets expressing his displeasure with the Narendra Modi administration’s much-heralded decision.
Agnipath, like contractual hiring in railways and “lateral entry” in other government ministries, the RJD leader is concerned that it will be used to eliminate constitutionally mandated reservation benefits.
“The BJP and Sangh Parivar may use the scheme to provide government-funded arms training to their hate-filled supporters and fringe elements,” said the former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar.
“Many young men with military training will be jobless at the age of 22 as a result of the Agnipath scheme. Isn’t this going to cause a major law and order issue in the country? “, he inquired.
He also wondered aloud whether the government wanted young people recruited under the Agnipath plan to spend the rest of their lives as security guards for “large capitalists friendly to the BJP.”
He also questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of ten lakh government jobs by the end of the year, asking if the figure “takes into account the 19 lakh jobs promised in Bihar” ahead of the 2020 assembly elections.
Ajmer-Delhi Highway Blocked In Jairpur
Over 150 people protested by blocking the Ajmer-Delhi route on Wednesday.
Around 150 demonstrators blocked the road in Kardhani, according to Kardhani Station House Officer (SHO) Banwari Meena, demanding that military recruitment be done the old-fashioned way.
The demonstrators were dispersed, the roadway was cleaned, and ten people were detained, according to the SHO.
Defence Establishment Take On Agnipath Scheme
On Wednesday, Lt General K K Repswal, Chief of Staff of the Army’s Eastern Command, said that the ‘Agnipath’ plan of recruiting young troops will ensure the availability of a trained pool long after their four-year stint in the armed forces ends.
“It’s a trained pool available to you,” he said during a press conference at Eastern Command headquarters. “If the situation so demands, they can be called back.”
The Army will recruit 40,000 soldiers under this system, according to Repswal, and the process will begin in three months.
He stated that only male candidates will be considered for the time being.
“When the system stabilises, girls will have a chance as well,” he said.
According to Repswal, the “Agnipath” scheme is intended to transform the Army in order to make it future-ready, and it provides for the retention of 25% of each batch for regular forces, with the remaining 75% leaving after four years being given preference in recruitment to central armed police forces and the Assam Rifles.
On Tuesday, the government announced the initiative, which would change the decades-old selection process to bring in healthier and younger personnel to address the country’s future security issues.
Around 46,000 men between the ages of 17 and 21 will be drafted into the Army, Navy, and Air Force this year.
“The Indian Army will recruit 25,000 ‘Agniveers’ in the next 180 days,” Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt General B S Raju told news agency PTI. “The process for recruiting the remaining 15,000 will begin a month after that.”
He also stated that the recruiting campaign will take place in each of the country’s 773 districts.
(With Inputs From Agencies)
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