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India’s armed forces are seeking modifications to the Agnipath recruitment scheme, a program introduced two years ago that has faced criticism. Senior military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have proposed raising the upper age limit for Agnipath inductees from 21 to 23 years old. Additionally, they suggest retaining at least 50% of Agniveers (recruits under the scheme) after their initial four-year service period, compared to the current 25% retention rate.

The proposed changes aim to enhance the combat effectiveness of the armed forces. Officials believe that raising the age limit will allow for the recruitment of graduates who can be trained for technical roles, potentially improving overall operational capabilities.

The Agnipath scheme has been a source of contention since its inception. Critics, particularly from northern states, have voiced concerns about job security and long-term career prospects for Agniveers after their initial service tenure. These concerns are believed to have impacted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the recent national elections.

The proposal to retain a larger percentage of Agniveers is seen as a strategy to mitigate potential manpower shortages in specialized fields within the military. By integrating a higher number of experienced personnel, the armed forces aim to maintain a balance between youthful energy and seasoned expertise.