Agnipath Scheme: Unemployed youths block highway in Bihar; Varun Gandhi takes a jibe at his own party govt

Unhappy over Agnipath Scheme announced by the Modi govt, thousands of unemployed youths blocked the highway in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district and slammed the govt for ruining their long-term prospects

screengrab from video (Twitter)
screengrab from video (Twitter)

NH Political Bureau

Unhappy over the Agnipath Scheme announced by the Modi government, thousands of unemployed youths – mainly defence job seekers – blocked the highway in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar and slammed the Modi government for ruining their long-term prospects.

According to the Agnipath Scheme announced by the Modi government, youths aged between 17-21 will be induct soldiers on short-term contract into the armed forces

Apart from highways, railway tracks were also blocked in Buxar, local media reported.

The aspirants believe that the scheme will prove detrimental to their long-term prospects as only up to 25 per cent of the recruits may get regular commission.

Protesting youths also burnt tyres and hoardings on National Highway 28, which links Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh to Barauni in Muzaffarpur, Bihar.

“Bharti do ya arthi do (Give us jobs or have us killed)” said one of the protesters.

Saying that the army should relax the age bar so that those who have spent the last two years waiting for jobs should get a fair chance, protesters said, “Even MPs and MLAs get five-year terms, what will we do with just four years?”

Echoing the sentiment, expressed by the unemployed youths, BJP MP Varun Gandhi took a jibe at his own party government. He shared a video clip on his Twitter handle and said, “Even government is elected for five years then why only youths are being given four years to serve the nation.”

Recruitments for the new scheme will begin within the next 90 days, it has been announced. The first batch will be ready by July 2023, reported media.

While announcing the scheme, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said “the scheme will also be a boost to employment opportunities”.

Once selected, Agniveers will serve for four years with the armed forces and after completion of four years, Agniveers will get an opportunity to apply voluntarily for regular cadre.

As per the scheme, based on the merit, organisational requirement, up to 25 per cent Agniveers shall be selected from the current batch.

To induct the Agniveers in the regular army, a robust system is being developed, said Lt Gen Anil Puri of the Department of Military Affairs.

Terms & condition for Agnipath scheme

  • Open to men and women (progressively based on service requirements).

  • Medical and fitness requirements will be as per existing norms.

  • Eligible age - 17.5 to 21 years

  • Educational qualification - 10th/12th pass (as per terms and conditions issued by the armed forces)

  • System would be put in place to give 12th class certificates to Agniveers. However, there is no clarity on the issue.

  • Every Agniveer who joins the armed forces gets Rs 30,000 to start with for the first year. Out of this, 30 per cent (about Rs 9,000), the Agniveer will contribute to his/her own package.

  • The government will put another Rs 9,000 towards this which works out to Rs 18,000. Over this, there will be standard EPF and PPF provisions and with all this it will work out to be somewhere around Rs 4.76 lakh in the first year, Gen Puri said.

  • The Agniveers will be earning Rs 40,000 in their fourth year which works out at about Rs 6.92 lakh, Gen Puri said,

  • Risk and Hardship and other allowance as applicable, said Gen Puri.

  • After the end of four years, Agniveer can volunteer for regular service or become an entrepreneur based on the foundation of this package.

Though, the government and its supporters portrayed the scheme as another “masterstroke”, many even called it “a ploy to fool young people”.

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