After receiving clearance from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), a new system for recruiting to the Indian Armed Forces was launched earlier this week. The proposal, once implemented, will reduce the age profile of the Indian Military Forces and contain the swelling pension cost, since a large portion of the budget was being spent on salaries and pensions, while long-awaited armed forces modernization projects were being postponed.
After passing all sets of examinations, young men and women between the ages of 17 and a half and 21 will be eligible for recruitment and will be referred to as “Agniveers.” These will be recruited either directly through educational institutions or through recruitment rallies and will serve for four years without receiving a pension.
While the Indian Army will pick up the male recruits, according to officials the women will get to be recruited as Agniveers in the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.
The first six months of these Agniveers’ four-year tenure will be spent in a rigorous training program, with the remaining 3.5 months spent in active service.
According to officials, training for individuals joining the Army would last between 10 weeks and six months, while training for those joining the Navy will last over 16 weeks, including two weeks at sea. They must meet all medical eligibility requirements for enrolment in the IAF, which are specific to the individual categories/trades.
The “‘Agniveer’ program for the Indian Navy would entail 16 weeks of basic training, according to Vice Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Eastern Naval Command. And, two weeks of sea training, and 16 weeks of professional training.”
According to officials as was announced earlier this week, 25 percent of these recruits, if found to be best performers and are driven, will be absorbed by the Armed Forces for a period of 15 years and they will get all the perks of the regular soldier serving in the forces. The balance 75 percent will be sent back at the end of four years.
How many are to be recruited by each service?
So, in the first phase around 46,000 young boys and girls will be recruited through the new system. These will include soldiers, airmen, and soldiers. The plan of the government to increase the number of recruitments to up to 59,000 within four years.
To meet the shortage of personnel in the armed forces in the last two years, this recruitment process will help the Indian Army to induct around 40,000 soldiers in the first phase. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to induct 3,000 airmen and the Indian Navy around 3,000 sailors.
Due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, for almost two years the recruitment rallies could not take place. And, through the “Agnipath” scheme by the second year the number of intake will go up to 46,500 and the numbers going into Army and Navy will remain the same, but the number for the IAF is expected to go up to 3,500. The third year will witness a jump in the number of recruits to around 52,400 and the intake by the Army will go up to 45,000, Navy will remain the same and the IAF will touch 4,400.
In the fourth year of the scheme the numbers will go up to around 58,000 and the Army will take on board 50,000, Navy 3,500 and there will be a significant increase in the IAF’s intake when 5,300 are taken in.
The government said earlier this week that by the time the Agniveer reaches his or her the fourth year, the income will be roughly Rs 40,000 per month, and the government will add to the corpus fund a severance of around Rs 11.71 lakh when they leave. As previously reported, soldiers will contribute around 30% of their salary to the corpus, with the government depositing an equal amount. Once relieved of duty, these recruits will be assisted in obtaining loans for further studies and will be rewarded with higher education credits and other bridging courses.
The Ministry of Skill Development will award skill certificates.
Recruits will undergo several types of training during their time in the service to which they are recruited, as previously reported by Financial Express Online. The three services will keep track of this and keep a computerized database of these Agniveers. Women would be recruited on a “all-India, all-class” basis, with a special rank and insignia in the Armed Forces.