Congress leader and MP Manish Tewari believes that Agnipath scheme is a much-needed reform in the right direction while noting that the armed forces should not be an employment guarantee programme.
The government on Tuesday unveiled the scheme for the recruitment of soldiers in the Army, Navy and the Air Force largely on a four-year short-term contractual basis, in a major overhaul of the decades-old selection process. “This is a reform which is much-needed and is a reform in the right direction,” Tewari said.
“I do empathise with youth who have concerns over Agnipath recruitment Process. Reality is India needs a younger armed force with lighter human footprint savvy on technology, equipped with state of art weaponry. Armed forces of Union shouldn’t be an employment guarantee programme,” he also said in a tweet.
Tewari’s remarks differ from the views of his party, which has criticised the government over the scheme and has demanded that it should be kept in abeyance and the next step should be taken after holding wider consultations with experts and others.
Under the scheme, youths between the ages of 17 and a half and 21 years will be inducted into the three services. After completion of the four-year tenure, the scheme provides for retaining 25 per cent of the recruits for regular service.
The Opposition, meanwhile, has stepped up its attack on the Centre over the Agnipath scheme and demanded its withdrawal, even as the government issued a clarification asserting that the new model will not only bring in new capabilities to the armed forces but also open up avenues for the youth in the private sector.
The Opposition’s attack came in the wake of protests in several states, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Trains were set afire, windowpanes of buses smashed and passersby, including a ruling BJP MLA, pelted with stones in Bihar by defence job aspirants whose protest against the central scheme continued for the second consecutive day.