Agniveer scheme introduced to avoid pension to soldiers: Tharoor

Former Union minister says Agniveer scheme threatens to undermine Army's reputation at a time when India's borders are not secure

Shashi Tharoor at a meeting in Punjab (photo: @ShashiTharoor/X)
Shashi Tharoor at a meeting in Punjab (photo: @ShashiTharoor/X)


Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday attacked the BJP-led Centre over the Agniveer scheme, saying that the short-term military recruitment scheme was primarily introduced to avoid giving pension to soldiers.

Addressing a press conference in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh the former Union minister said the government is sending young recruits to the borders after just six months of training and then leaving them unemployed after four years.

"This approach risks ruining the global reputation of our Army and is driven by a desire to balance the government's accounts rather than ensuring national security," he claimed.

The Thiruvanathapuram MP was in Dharamshala to campaign for Anand Sharma, the Congress candidate from Kangra parliamentary seat.

Tharoor, who served as India's representative at the United Nations for 29 years, including seven years in World Peacekeeping, expressed pride in the Indian Army's reputation for quality and professionalism.

He warned that the Agniveer scheme threatens to undermine this reputation, especially at a time when India's borders are not entirely secure.

Speaking about the unemployment statistics, the Congress leader said 42 per cent of the unemployed are graduates and 45 per cent are youths aged between 19 and 24 years.

He also claimed that in the past decade, the income of 80 per cent of the population has significantly decreased, while the wealth of 20 per cent has surged.

Tharoor assured that if the Congress comes to power at the Centre, it will prioritise justice for women, youth, farmers, and the general public. He alleged that the current government's focus is on financial gains over public welfare, stating that such an approach hinders national progress.

He also expressed confidence that after the second round of voting, it has become clear that the BJP is unlikely to secure more than 200 seats in the Lok Sabha polls.

Polling for all four Lok Sabha seats in Himachal will be held on 1 June, the last phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

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