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The Congress on Monday demanded the abolition of the Agnipath scheme and urged the government to start permanent recruitment in the armed forces as before. Addressing a press conference here, party leader Deepender Hooda said for the past few days, there have been reports that a lot of flaws related to the Agnipath scheme are being mentioned in the Army’s internal survey and various suggestions have come out.

He said different newspapers have published how shortcomings can be rectified in the recruitment scheme. Some things that have come out include extending the duration of Agnipath by four years and instead of retaining 25 per cent in Agnipath, 60-70 per cent Agniveers should be retained besides increasing the training period of Agniveers, added Hooda.

“We have always been saying that the Agnipath scheme is not in the interest of the youth as well as the country. Therefore, our demand is that this scheme should be abolished and permanent recruitment should be started in the army,” he told reporters.

Hooda said some things have come to light in the army’s internal report which says the Agniveer scheme has led to a decline in the army’s morale, mutual brotherhood and the spirit of dying for each other.

There is also a fear that there is not sufficient time for training the Agniveers and the Agniveer scheme has led to a decline in Army recruitment, which will lead to a huge shortfall in the Army by 2035, he said.

“The Congress Party rejects the Agniveer scheme and demands from the government to start permanent recruitment in the army as before,” the Congress leader said.

Hooda, who has been elected from the Rohtak Parliamentary seat, said “the election results also show that the people of the country have rejected this scheme”.

He said earlier in Haryana, around 5,500 youth used to get permanent recruitment in the army every year, but now only 900 Agniveers are being taken, out of which about 225 Agniveers will be made permanent and the rest will return home.