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Age relaxation in Agnipath shows government cares for the youth: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

General Manoj Pande welcomes government decision for a one-time, two-year relaxation in the upper age limit for recruitment into the armed forces

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: June 17, 2022 1:02:24 pm
agnipath sceheme recruitment dateDamaged property at a railway station in Secunderabad. There have been massive protests across the country against Agnipath scheme, some of which have also turned violent, with protesters torching several trains and other vehicles. (Express Photo)

In an attempt to quell the anger of the protesting youth across the country, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday that the government’s decision to give a one-time, two-year relaxation in the upper age limit for recruitment in the armed forces under the new Agnipath scheme shows that the government cares for the youth.

He said that the government has announced “a one-time upper age limit relaxation for the recruitment process through Agnipath scheme for 2022 to 23 years” and this “indicates that the government cares for our youth”.

The Department of Military Affairs, Ministry of Defence, and the services, he said, “are committed to commence the recruitment process at the earliest, we invite youth of our country to join Indian armed forces and serve the nation through Agnipath”.

As protests against the government’s new recruitment policy for the armed forces continue unabated, Army Chief General Manoj Pande welcomed the government’s decision for the age relaxation. The decision to allow youth up to age of 23 years to be eligible under the scheme this year as recruitments had been stalled since 2020 was announced late on Thursday evening.

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He also mentioned that the recruitment schedule will be announced soon

Pande said in a statement on Friday morning that this relaxation will give many aspirants, who had prepared for the last two years, an opportunity to be considered.

“The decision of the government has been received to grant a one-time waiver, increasing the entry age of recruitment to 23 years, for the recruitment cycle of 2022.” He said that “this decision will provide an opportunity for many of our young, energetic and patriotic youth who, despite the COVID pandemic, were preparing to join the recruitment rallies, which couldn’t be completed in the last two years due COVID restrictions”.

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Pande mentioned that the “schedule of recruitment process will be announced shortly. We call upon our youth to avail this opportunity for joining the Indian Army as Agniveers”.

There have been massive protests across the country against the announced scheme, some of which have also turned violent, with protesters torching several trains and other vehicles.

There is anger among the youth as the Agnipath scheme, which envisions a four-year contract for soldiers, sailors and airmen, including a six-month training, removes lifelong benefits like pension and healthcare benefits for soldiers and their families. The scheme, given that it is for just four years, after which only 25 per cent will be recruited back for 15 years, also removes the security of a permanent government job.

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Even as the government has announced that the Agniveers, as these soldiers will be called, will be given preferences in recruitment into other jobs by states and central government departments, including in the paramilitary forces, it has failed to quell the anger, disappointment and concern among the protesting aspirants.

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First published on: 17-06-2022 at 12:41:10 pm
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