Stop this 'trial by fire' of Indian youth: Raghav Chadha writes to Rajnath Singh demanding withdrawal of Agnipath Scheme
Rajya Sabha MP and Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Raghav Chadha on Saturday wrote a letter to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh demanding the withdrawal of the Agnipath scheme.
Rajya Sabha MP and Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Raghav Chadha on Saturday wrote a letter to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh demanding the withdrawal of the Agnipath scheme. In the letter, Chadha said the scheme had "justifiably caused great anguish among potential recruits from across the country". He said that jawans need peace of mind and job security.
"The Union Government has failed to comprehend that a jawan supports not only himself but his family. Only individuals with courage and peace of mind can serve in the Armed Forces. A jawan that is busy contemplating career moves or wondering how his family will survive after his tenure of four years is over, will find it harder to serve our country. An ill-motivated soldier is certainly an avoidable proposition," read his letter. The Rajya Sabha MP further in his letter said, "The scheme has overlooked issues of inadequate skilling. The Agnipath scheme allows for Agniveers to undergo a crash course in training of six months. An abnormally short period of training will have adverse consequences on the quality of service discharged."
The AAP spokesperson said that the scheme allows for 'greenhorns to face the nation's greatest security challenges. Resultantly, we will be saddled without sufficient leadership and experience amongst the troops.' He said that the Union Government's financial obligations towards the defence pension bill should not be offset by sacrificing the job security of our jawans. "We cannot shy away from our collective responsibility to give those who protect our borders a life of dignity. It is the least we can do for our jawans. This cannot be our solution to budgetary woes. Lives cannot be put at stake to balance the budget," he said in his letter.
Chadha alleged that the scheme negates regimental honour and erodes the quality of our troops. "Unity and coordination amongst troops is what drives our Armed Forces towards excellence, and with a shorter duration spent with their peers, we are sacrificing the spirit of the forces. It is the ethos of the regiment that keeps jawans united and determined. Any recruitment scheme must respect the regimental honour and ethos built into the system which has been bringing laurels to the country," said the Rajya Sabha MP in his letter to Rajnath Singh. The AAP leader said that such 'experiments' should not be imposed en masse.
"This scheme has been implemented without running any pilot schemes. Such pilot schemes, preferably outside of the Armed Forces would have provided an opportunity to deliberate before deciding. A consultative exercise could have followed thereafter to avoid national embarrassment and despair amongst the youth," he wrote. For the reasons highlighted above, the AAP spokesperson said that the Union Government should start with an immediate roll-back and a resumption of the regular recruitment process for the current year. "We are experiencing a great deficit in new recruits, and shortcuts that put our jawans at risk cannot be the solution. We cannot take the opportunity to serve the country in the Armed Forces as a secondary option for anyone," he said in his letter.
"With all the humility at my command, I implore you to roll back the Agnipath scheme, to stop this 'trial by fire' of the youth of the country. The National Convenor of the Aam Aadmi Party and the Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, has also urged the Union Government to immediately roll back the scheme and to allow the youth to serve this country in a permanent and not a temporary manner. The roll-back should give the Union Government sufficient time to re-think and consult the aspirants who are affected the most by this sudden decision affecting their fate," he added. COVID-19 halted the Army's recruitment for over two years. In 2019-2020, the Army recruited jawans and there has been no entry since then. On the other hand, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force had both recruited in the last two years respectively.
The Ministry of Defence, in its statement on Tuesday, said that the Agnipath scheme has been designed to enable a youthful profile of the Armed Forces. It will provide an opportunity to the youth who may be keen to don the uniform by attracting young talent from the society who are more in tune with contemporary technological trends and plough back skilled, disciplined and motivated manpower into the society. This is a major defence policy reform introduced by the Government to usher in a new era in the Human Resource policy of the three Services. The policy, which comes into immediate effect, will hereafter govern the enrolment for the three services. (ANI)
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