Amid controversy over the lack of support by the local administration for recruitment rallies in Punjab, Indian Army sources on Wednesday said such rallies under the Agnipath scheme had already been successfully conducted in a couple of cities and more were planned in Ferozepur and Jalandhar.
The issue came up after an Army’s zonal recruitment office raised the issue of “vacillating” support from the local administration in Punjab for the Agnipath rallies. However, top sources said that the recruitment of Agniveers as per the Agnipath scheme is progressing as per schedule for recruiting for the year 2022-23.
The sources in the Army clarified that the rallies scheduled to be held at several places in Punjab, including the ones for recruiting the women Agniveers, would be conducted as per the schedule. “It is clarified that further rallies at Patiala (September 17 to 30), Ferozepur (November 1 to 16) and Jalandhar (November 21 to December 10), including women Agniveers, will also be conducted as scheduled in close coordination with the civil administration,” said the sources. “The registration and footfall of candidates have been encouraging. It is reiterated that there is no plan to shift recruitment rallies from Punjab to any other state or states,” added the sources.
Following the issues raised by the zonal office, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday directed officials to ensure complete support to the Indian Army for the recruitment of Agniveers in the state. “All Deputy commissioners were directed to provide complete support to Army Authorities for recruitment of Agniveers in Punjab. Any laxity shall be viewed seriously. Every effort will be made to recruit a maximum number of candidates into the army from the state,” Chief Minister Mann said. The Union Cabinet on June 14 approved a recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the three services of the Armed Forces called Agnipath. The youth selected under this scheme will be known as ‘Agniveers’
The Agnipath scheme allows patriotic and motivated youth to serve in the Armed Forces for a period of four years. The Agnipath scheme has been designed to enable a youthful profile of the Armed Forces. ‘Agnipath’ is a pan-India merit-based recruitment scheme for enrolling soldiers, airmen and sailors. The scheme provides an opportunity for youth to serve in the regular cadre of the armed forces. All those recruited under the ‘Agnipath’ scheme will be called ‘Agniveers’. After four years, only 25 per cent of the Agniveers will be retained or re-enlisted in the regular cadre based on merit, willingness and medical fitness. The Agnipath scheme has been brought to strengthen India’s security, the government has said. The other 75 per cent ‘Agniveers’ will be demobilized, with an exit or “Seva Nidhi” package of Rs 11-12 lakh, partly funded by their monthly contributions, as well as skill certificates and bank loans for help in their second careers.