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Massive and violent outbreaks have erupted throughout the country with the unleashing of the centre’s most controversial Agnipath Yojana. The youth is definitely most affected by this scheme and has chosen some unusual ways to express anger. No matter what the results will be, the protestors are angry against this unpractised plan. It has undoubtedly triggered rage among the defence aspirants to an unprecedented level.
What is Agnipath Yojana?
This contentious Agnipath scheme that the government of India announced declared a brand-new recruitment policy for all three defence wings. Under this, the government shall recruit youngsters from 17.5 to 21 years of age on a contractual basis for four years, followed by compulsory retirements further ahead. This scheme reflects that jawans won’t receive any gratuity and pension benefits. After going through an intensive 6-month training programme, they will serve for 3.5 years actively.
Only 25% of the eligible candidates who served shall be offered an extension of 15 years if they qualify. These troops shall be named Agniveers. For the remaining 75% population, the roads for the defence shall be closed. The government has said to provide some due alternatives and promised to give backup or helpful financial aid. They also plan to help Agniveers avail education loans to kickstart their second career. Still, it has proved unsuccessful in ceasing people’s resentment.
What Might Be the Ulterior Motive Behind This Rolled-Out Scheme?
The government aims to minimise the ballooning of pension bills and reduce the armed forces’ age range. The centre seems more concerned with modernising the army and its resources rather than investing in their salaries and pension schemes.
Major Concerns of Youth Regarding the Agnipath Yojana
Like UPSC, a large chunk of youth is inclined toward defence service preparation after completing higher secondary education. This sector is also one of the primary breadwinners for most Indian households. The main objections unfolding include:
- Firstly, the protesters want their future security even if the army recruits them for four years. What next if they cannot qualify for a further 15 years of service?
- The large section of aspiring youth shall be devoid of recruitment due to the set age from 17-21 years.
- Since they will devote their prime years to the army, the education gap will become superficial if they wish to seek a job in any other sector after four years. If they are not qualified academically enough to suit the private or corporate sector jobs, it will be detrimental and alarming on their part.
- Due to the pandemic, the recruitments were already delayed, which dampened the youth’s spirits.
- Lastly, the protesters are demanding to introduce the old recruitment procedure, not this unwelcoming Tour Of Duty (TOD).
Areas of Protest
The states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana, and West Bengal saw massive demonstrations against this radical scheme. The people have been burning tires and blocking roads and railways. Some mobs set trains on fire. Due to these violent protests and clashes, the government even had to take steps to shut down the internet and telephone services. In many areas, the police had to “lathicharge” the protesters and use resentful methods to stop the vandalism of public property. The police stations were set ablaze in some places to oppose this scheme.
The backlash has been soaring since the government decided that it would not roll out the scheme at any cost and is for the benefit of the folks in the long term. The general youth, student bodies, and opposition are also protesting against this scheme. Moreover, it seems like the government shattered their hopes and dreams by introducing this unplanned Yojana.
Some Possible Quick-Fix
Even if the government is ready to offer generous terms to the Agniveers apart from the decent salary, the outline of this plan should be more transparent and specified. The protester and the government can settle on some middle ground. Let us discuss how:
- Firstly, people from middle-class families aspire to opt for full-time jobs. No handsome salary can impress them if the government expels them after four years and expects them to start from scratch. The government needs to understand the genuine concern here and address it accordingly.
- Before applying any law or scheme that affects a wide range of citizens, it is necessary to experiment with a pilot project and proceed forward if the project is successful.
- The government must discuss proper execution plans and explain the importance of the Agnipath scheme.
According to the protestors, the Agnipath Yojana is not in the beneficial interest of the youth and the country. They also claim that they are counting this contract recruitment as a means to play with the career and future of youth. Another concern is that the country’s security is also at stake with this. So, taking note of all the above-said issues, the government must work and present a common way regarding this matter. You should also read about the National Air Sport Policy 2022.