The government of India launched the Agnipath scheme on Tuesday, June 14, in an effort to reduce the burden of pensions and keep young blood flowing in all three armed services. According to the introduced scheme, young people between 17 and a half years and twenty-one years can serve in the Indian army for a period of four years.
According to sources in the defence and security establishment, enrolment under this scheme is all-India, all-class, and will form a distinct rank in the armed forces, in addition to having distinguished insignia, as announced by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh along with three service chiefs on Tuesday.
The recruitment will commence 90 days from the announcement, and a total of around 46 soldiers will be recruited in the first year. Earlier, army personnel were recruited as sepoys into specific regiments based on class patterns. The newly introduced Agnipath seeks to replace the existing system.
The Agnipath scheme refers to soldiers under the scheme, Agniveers. The same will be recruited for a period of 4 years, including the training period. They will receive a monthly salary of about Rs. 30,000–40,000 as well as allowances as required and possible. The soldiers will be recruited, provided they meet the medical eligibility criteria as required for separate wings within the armed forces.
Agniveers can be posted into any regiment, unit, or establishment and would be entitled to honours and awards under guidelines on the subject. The scheme also has a provision for an option to enrol themselves into the regular cadre after the completion of 4 years. Only 25% of these Agnives will be hired as regular employees.
They are also entitled to get a post-release ‘Seva Nidhi Package’ of Rs 11.71 lakhs including interest (tax-free), besides a non-contributory insurance cover of Rs 48 lakhs. The Rs 11.71 lakh will be made up of 30% of the employee's pay as a contribution to the scheme, as well as an equal amount contributed by the government.
In the event of death due to service, an additional ‘by favour’ of Rs 44 lakh would be paid, and compensation will be paid under existing provisions in the event of disability. Those working under the scheme will also have the provision of obtaining a bank loan of Rs 18.2 lakhs over three years or more, against the "Seva Nidhi Package".
They will also receive an Agniveer skill certificate, which might assist them while they look for post-release job opportunities. However, agriculturists who leave after four years will not get ex-serviceman status; that is, there will be no entitlement to gratuity and pension benefits.
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