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Women Agniveers, recruitment rallies and pledge: Defence officials lay out Agnipath model

The army will hold 83 recruitment rallies. Women Agniveers will be inducted by the Indian Navy and all aspirants will have to take a pledge that they were not part of Agnipath protests.

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Department of Military Affairs Additional Secretary Lt. Gen Anil Puri addresses a press conference on the Agnipath' scheme in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)
Department of Military Affairs Additional Secretary Lt. Gen Anil Puri addresses a press conference on the Agnipath' scheme in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)

By India Today Web Desk: Defence officials on Sunday laid out the vision for the Agnipath model and announced the broad schedule of enrolment under the new recruitment scheme. Lieutenant General Anil Puri, the additional secretary in the Department of Military Affairs, said that the supportive measures announced in the last few days for the Agniveers were not because of the protests and violence.

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Lt Gen Anil Puri also appealed to the youth to start preparing for the recruitment tests.

"The Army, Navy and Air Force are giving time of 45 to 60 days to the youth to prepare for the physical fitness tests and understand the terms and conditions so that you are ready to join us," he said.

PLEDGE

Lt Gen Anil Puri said the youth who were involved in violence will not be able to join the three services as a police verification process will be carried out before enrolling anyone. He added that every individual will have to submit a pledge that they were not part of violent protests.

"There is no space for arson and violence. Every individual who wants to join the armed forces through the Agnipath scheme will have to submit a pledge that they were neither part of any protest nor were involved in any violence. Nobody can join the forces without police verification. We have made the provisions," he said.

WOMEN AGNIVEERS

The Indian Navy is planning to induct women Agniveers into services under the scheme. Vice Admiral (Personnel) Dinesh Tripathi said the naval headquarters will come out with a broad guideline for the recruitment by June 25.

"From November 21 this year, the first naval Agniveers will start reaching the training establishment INS Chilka, Odisha. Both female and male Agniveers are allowed for this," the Vice Admiral said.

ARMY RECRUITMENT RALLIES

Lieutenant General Bansi Ponappa said recruitment rallies will be held under the scheme across the country in August, September and October. A draft notification on Army's recruitment plan will be issued on Monday, June 20. A total of 83 recruitment rallies to recruit around 40,000 Agniveers will be held starting August.

By December, 25,000 Agniveers will join the Army. The second batch will be inducted by February, 2023.

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"We had lengthy discussions on how to make our forces young. We studied foreign forces too. We want young people. They have passion, josh aur hosh in equal proportions," said Lt General Anil Puri.

WHAT IS AGNIPATH SCHEME?

The Centre had unveiled this new scheme as recruitment into the military was stalled for two years due to Covid pandemic. The Indian Air Force will kickstart recruitment under the new scheme and registration process will start from June 24. After online examinations, the recruitment process will begin on July 24.

"We are planning to start the training for the first batch of recruits by December 30," Air Marshall Jha said.

Under the scheme, 17 and-a-half and 21 years would be inducted for a four-year tenure while 25 per cent of them will be subsequently inducted for regular service.

The defence officials today ruled out suggestions that the government might review the scheme because of protests. Why should there be a rollback, asked Lt Gen Anil Puri.

Referring to the provision of exit of 75 per cent of the Agniveers after a four-year tenure, he claimed that around 17,600 personnel take premature retirement annually from the three services and Agnipath is not the only scheme where exit takes place.