Agneepath is a new scheme that was introduced by the Government of India on 14 June 2022. It will involve the recruitment of soldiers below the rank of commissioned officers in the three -armed forces of India. It is contract employment in the military. The Agneepath scheme is a temporary Army assignment of four years. Seventeen and a half to twenty-one age groups, including women, will be recruited in all three divisions. They will be known as Agniveer. The appointment will be for four years. Twenty-five percent of each batch will be offered long-term service. The rest of the departed persons (seventy-five percent) will not get a pension and will get only one amount in the name of the Sevanidhi Package. Protests are rising across the country against the government, which has also contracted strategically important military service.
The justifications of those who oppose the Agneepath scheme
- The Agneepath scheme is against the national interests of India.
- It is not possible to create a professional armed force by taking soldiers on a four-year contract.
- Those who leave after four years of service will have no other job opportunities.
- Sometimes they may work for private armed groups.
- Working for private armed groups can lead to dangerous situations.
- This can have a major impact.
- It is extremely criminal to call on young people to sacrifice their lives for the country without even the assurance of job security.
- Four years is a very short period of employment.
- Experts say it will affect the professionalism of the military.
- It is also a time to pursue higher education and career skills.
- After four years of service, the potential for employment of these young people will decrease.
- The government says the contract appointment is aimed at giving youth to the armed forces.
- But defense experts say this could drain the military’s morale.
- Six months of training alone will not equip the youth for national defense.
- Only with continuous training and experience, every soldier becomes mentally and physically ready for battle.
- A large contingent of four years of trained force is expelled into the community each year.
- It will create a bigger crisis than we think.
Arguments of those who support the Agneepath scheme.
- The arguments of those who support the Agneepath project.
- Pensions for retirees in the armed forces are a huge liability for the government.
- Agneepath scheme is implemented as a means of escape from it is the argument of those who support it.
- There are those who argue that the project will boost nationalism among the youth.
- Discipline can be instilled in everyone through military training.
- Service, dedication, and selfless work are ingrained in youth, which also helps them in peacetime activities.
- In times of natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and drought, those who served in the military can contribute to helping those in need.
- Taking part in military training encourages a habit of rising early, being quick to act, and being punctual, as well as developing a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect.
But should spending be cut from an area that is important and affects national security? The question of whether that is how to make a financial profit is relevant here. A large percentage of corporate tax deductions are made when each budget is presented. Shouldn’t such tax breaks be stopped? And the cost should not be reduced in the case of those who give their lives to protect the country.
Military service is a dream job for young people
Agneepath is a project that worries those who are preparing for service in the Armed Forces in the face of rising unemployment. That concern is the main reason for the struggles we are witnessing now. Unemployment is at an all-time high in the country. If young people become angry and violent, cannot be blamed on them. The morale and fighting ability of the army will be destroyed. Termination of the existing recruitment system and a temporary appointment cannot be seen as mere contracting of the Army. Transparency in appointments is also controversial. The existing four lakh vacancies in the army are unfilled.
The recently announced Agneepath project for short-term contract recruitment of soldiers in the Army, Air Force, and Navy will have a major impact. Contract recipients may not be sincere when serving on the battlefield or on the border. They may also be reluctant to take risky jobs. The new plan is being implemented in a hurry without consulting or discussing it with Parliament or defense experts. When making changes in the force that protects the unity and security of the country, a decision should be taken after a detailed study and implementation on an experimental basis to evaluate its advantages and disadvantages.
Is this patriotism?
It is necessary to consider whether it is patriotism or treason to undermine national security by contracting out the army as a symbol of patriotism. A well-equipped army cannot be developed by soldiers on a four-year contract basis. This is an arrangement to save money without paying a pension. The basic premise of neoliberalism is that permanent hiring should be avoided instead of contract hiring to reduce costs. There is no doubt that contracting out this force will affect the efficiency and quality of the force. Why try to adopt such a method by completely changing the existing methods of recruitment in the Armed Forces? This is the question of those who oppose it. It can be seen from the struggles and protests of the youth that this project is against the interest of the youth of the country.
Currently, the soldier has job security
Recruitment to the Army has not taken place for the last two years. The Agneepath scheme enters the scene by removing the existing recruitment parades for the Armed Forces. With the advent of the Agneepath, the idea of permanent employment in the Armed Forces will slowly disappear. The rest will be released after four years of service. They do not have any benefits like pension. Only a lump sum payment is made, including the amount withheld from wages during the period of employment and the share of the government.
Currently, the soldier has job security for about seventeen years. After that, there was a relief that he would get a pension. Moreover, the soldier and his family had access to subsidized health care. If a soldier dies in battle, the family will receive benefits. Agneepath scheme will eliminate all these benefits.
Occupational contractualization is extremely dangerous for the upliftment, development, and rights of workers in any sector. Contracting will create imbalances in any sector. Experimental projects are usually carried out when such large changes are implemented. But that has not happened here. This policy will seriously affect the morale and professionalism of the forces. Experts say the Agneepath project will have a far-reaching impact on the structure and capabilities of the Defense Forces. Do not forget that the army needs not only youth but also experience. There are those who say that the project will benefit the growth of nationalism in the youth.
Why do young people get angry?
There is widespread opposition from young people and veterans from all walks of life to the Agneepath project, which is fundamentally altering the current pattern of military recruitment to the Armed Forces. Opposition to the plan has been made clear by senior officers and defense observers at various levels who have retired from the Armed Forces. At the same time, the expansion of the criteria for the appointment of Chiefs of forces has paved the way for further politicization of the top leadership of the Armed Forces.
Defense is an integral part of every nation’s life
In the life of every nation, defense plays an integral role. In building up arms, new technologies and techniques are used. Shortly put, every nation is interested in improving its military capability. It is essential for every country to maintain a standing armed force and each country has its own army, air force, and navy. Recruiting people for these defense wings for their maintenance and development costs a lot of money. Military training is useful in many ways. Military training will help everyone understand the value of discipline. Training in the military will serve as a great tool for bringing discipline to everyone.
Merit is honored, and there is no place for favoritism and nepotism. This fosters unity and fraternity among the members. Everyone here is more disciplined and rigorous, and this encourages character development, fortitude, tolerance, and a sense of community. Youth are instilled with the discipline of service, dedication, and selfless work that helps them in peacetime activities as well. In the event of natural calamities like floods, earthquakes, and drought, those who served in the military can make a difference to those in need. In performing their duties and carrying out any work they are given, they will be fast and efficient.
Military service is the dream job of the youth of the country. They are doing a great job of maintaining national security. It is the duty of the government to provide them with job security, wages, pension reservation, and other benefits. To leave them without job security or financial protection is absolutely cruel. We cannot leave them on the front lines without a job or financial security. Don’t forget that they also have a family. The government is responsible for the family of every soldier on the battlefield. Every soldier works for national security without even looking at his own life, blindly trusting the government.