The selection process by the Indian Air Force for recruitment under the Agnipath scheme will start from June 24, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said on Friday amid violent protests in several states against the new military enrolment model.
The Chief of Air Staff told PTI that raising the upper age limit to 23 for induction under the Agnipath scheme for the year 2022 would permit a larger section of youths to enrol under the new model of recruitment.
”The government has recently come out with the ‘Agnipath’ scheme for enrolment in the armed forces. The age bracket for the scheme is 17-and-half-years to 21 years. I am pleased to inform you that the upper age limit for the first induction has been increased to 23 years,” Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said. ”This change would permit a larger section of the youth to enrol Agniveer. The selection process for the Air Force will start from Jun 24,” he said.
Several parts of the country witnessed widespread protests over the newly-announced scheme that provides for a short-term tenure of four years while 25 per cent of the recruits will be retained for regular service of around 15 years.
A number of opposition parties and a significant number of military experts have also slammed the scheme saying it will adversely impact the functioning of the armed forces.
The government on Thursday night increased the upper age limit for recruitment under the Agnipath scheme to 23 years from 21 for the year 2022.
Unveiling the scheme on Tuesday, the government said youths between the ages of 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 youths to be recruited under the new scheme would be called ‘Agniveer’.
After the scheme was rolled out, the Army said it would ensure an enhanced youthful profile of the force and result in a ”reduction in the average age from 32 to 26 years over a period of time.
The three service chiefs have also strongly backed the scheme and said it was unveiled after over two years of deliberations.
Military officials said with the infusion of technology and revamping of the training programme, the armed forces would ensure that the personnel inducted under the scheme have the same skill sets which are required to meet the operational challenges.
The monthly salary of an ‘Agniveer’ in the first year of employment would be Rs 30,000 and the in-hand amount would be Rs 21,000 as Rs 9,000 would go to a corpus with an equal contribution from the government.
Subsequently, the monthly salary in the second, third and fourth year will be Rs 33,000, Rs 36,500 and Rs 40,000.
Each ‘Agniveer’ will get an amount of Rs 11.71 lakh as ‘Seva Nidhi Package’ and it will be exempted from income tax.
The four-year tenure under the new scheme will include around two-and-half months to six months of training periods. In an attempt to assuage the young people agitating against the scheme, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the new model is a ”golden opportunity” for those wanting to join the country’s defence system.
He said the government’s decision to increase the upper age limit from 21 years to 23 years for recruitment under the scheme in 2022 will allow a significant number of youths to join the forces.