Agnipath controversy explained: Why armed forces aspirants are protesting & what Centre has said

Angry protests have erupted in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and other states against the Centre’s “Agnipath” scheme — a radical new recruitment plan for India’s armed forces.

The Agnipath scheme, announced on Tuesday, seeks to recruit soldiers in the Army, Navy and the Air Force on a short-term contract of four years. The central government says the scheme aims to bring down the average age of personnel and reduce pension expenditure.

However, several defence aspirants, military veterans and opposition leaders have raised reservations over the revamped process. They say that the new scheme can potentially affect the future of serving personnel, hit the professionalism, ethos and fighting spirit of the forces and possibly lead to militarisation of civil society.

What exactly is the Agnipath scheme?

The Agnipath scheme provides for the recruitment of all Army, Navy and IAF personnel (except officers) for a period of four years. The youngsters recruited under the scheme will be called “Agniveers”, who will be in the age group of 17.5 to 21 years and receive a monthly salary of Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000.

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