New Delhi: The process of recruitment under the ‘Agnipath’ military recruitment scheme will start in a “few days”, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday and appealed to the youth looking at joining the military to start preparing for it.

Singh also tried to assuage the concerns of young people agitating against the 4-year contractual recruitment plan, saying the new model is a “golden opportunity” for those wanting to join the country’s armed forces.

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 armed forces.

Singh took to Twitter to reach out to the demonstrators in the backdrop of continued violent protests in several states. One person was killed in police firing in Secunderabad during the protests that raged through several states for the third day on Friday with trains torched, public property vandalised and many thousands blocking tracks and highways.

The ‘Agnipath’ scheme announced by the Central government is a “golden opportunity” for the youth of India to join the defence system of the country and serve it, he said. “Due to the lack of recruitment process in the army for the last two years, many youths could not get the opportunity to join the army. Therefore, keeping in mind the future of the youths, on the instructions of Prime Minister @narendra-modi, the government has increased the age limit for recruitment of Agniveers from 21 years to 23 years,” Singh said.

He said this one-time relaxation will allow a lot of youth to become ‘Agniveers’.

The youths to be recruited under the ‘Agnipath’ scheme will be known as ‘Agniveers’.

“I heartily thank Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi for his concern and sensitivity towards the future of the youths. I appeal to the youth that the process of recruitment in the army is going to start in a few days. They start their preparation for it,” Singh tweeted.

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 amid widespread protest against the new model for enrolment of soldiers into the three services.

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 the recruits will be retained for regular service.

The new scheme for the recruitment of soldiers in the Army, Navy and Air Force was projected by the government as a major overhaul of the decades-old selection process to enhance the youthful profile of the three services.

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.—PTI 



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