‘Agnipath’ scheme: Indian Air Force releases details of recruitment plan


The Indian Air Force on Sunday released details of the The central government’s “Agnipath” plandetailing various aspects such as eligibility criteria, age limit, degrees, etc.

The IAF document states that all Indians are eligible for the “new human resource management system for the armed forces” as long as they are between 17.5 and 21 years old. They will need to meet specific medical eligibility requirements and will have a distinctive insignia that must be worn on their uniforms for the duration of the training

“Agniveers”, as the recruits are called, will be entitled to 30 days of annual leave per year and sick leave on medical advice. They may be absorbed into formal service at the end of the four-year period at the discretion of the government.

However, recruits will not have the option of being released from service at their own request except in exceptional cases, the IAF said. He added that individuals will be eligible for a monthly salary of Rs. 30,000 with fixed annual increases, risk and hardship allowances, clothing and travel allowances and access to army health services.

The Agnipath scheme, announced by the central government on Tuesday, aims to streamline India’s 13 lakh strong armed forces and reduce the defense pension bill which has been a source of major headaches for years.

Announcing the programme, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said that “efforts are being made to ensure that the profile of the armed forces is as young as India’s population at large”.

“It will also lead to the availability of more skilled labor for the economy, which will be helpful for productivity gains and overall GDP growth,” Singh said.

However, the announcement sparked protests across the country. Protests continued for the fourth day in a row and spread to states like Punjab and Kerala, which were initially spared the violence.

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The young protesters alleged there would be no pension benefits after serving the four-year term under the scheme. In an effort to defuse the situation, the Center announced several incentives on Saturday, including a reservation of 10% of vacancies in the Ministry of Defense and paramilitary forces for Agnipath retirees.

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