NEW DELHI: In the backdrop of protests against the newly launched Agnipath Scheme for military recruitments, the Centre has announced several beneficial measures to ensure support to Agniveers, said government sources. Protests turned violent in several parts of the country including Bihar and Telangana in which the trains were set ablaze at some places.
Notably, ever since the scheme was launched by the government, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and several state governments have announced that Agniveers, after serving the armed forces for 4 years, will be given preference in filling of vacancies in police forces. Several other departments have also announced support to the Agnipath scheme.
Meanwhile, states like Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Karnataka have already announced supportive measures for the Agniveers post-retirement from services after four years in the Armed Forces.
Here is a list of some supportive measures announced by the government.
Reservation in posts of Coast Guard and Defence PSUs:
Earlier today, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday approved a proposal to reserve 10 per cent of the job vacancies in the Ministry of Defence for Agniveers meeting requisite eligibility criteria. The 10 per cent reservation will be implemented in the Indian Coast Guard and defence posts, and all the 16 Defence Public Sector Undertakings (HAL, BEL, BEML, BDL, GRSE, GSL, HSL, MDL, Midhani, AVNL, AWEIL, MIL, YIL, GIL, IOL, TCL).
Necessary age relaxation provision will also be made to enable recruitment of Agniveers to the above posts.
Age relaxation for first-year recruitment:
A day after the launch of the scheme, the government announced that it has decided to increase the upper age limit for the recruitment of Agniveers from 21 years to 23 years for the recruitment cycle of 2022. "The decision was taken in view of the fact that recruitment was not possible for the last two years," said government sources. In a statement, Rajnath Singh said that the Department of Military Affairs, Ministry of Defence and the Services are committed to commencing the recruitment process at the earliest.
Recruitment in CAPFs:
Earlier today, the Home Ministry decided to reserve 10 per cent vacancies for recruitment in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Assam Rifles for Agniveers. Home Ministry has further announced that it will give three years of age relaxation to Agniveers beyond the prescribed upper age limit to recruitments in CAPFs and Assam Rifles. For the first batch of Agniveers, the age relaxation will be of 5 years.
Recruitment in Merchant Navy:
Directorate General of Shipping under the Ministry of Ports Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) along with the Indian Navy announced a system for the smooth induction of the Agniveers into the Merchant Navy. Under this, MoPSW announced six attractive service avenues for a smooth transition of Agniveers in various roles of the Merchant navy, post their stint with the Indian Navy.
"These measures for Agniveers include transition from Ratings in Indian Navy to Certified Ratings in Merchant Navy, transition from Electrical Ratings in Indian Navy to Certified Electro-Technical Ratings in Merchant Navy, transition from Ratings in Indian Navy to Certified Class IV-NCV CoC holder in Merchant Navy, transition from Electrical Ratings in Indian Navy to Certified Electro-Technical Officers in Merchant Navy and transition from Cook in Indian Navy to Certified Cook Merchant Navy," said the sources. "
The MoSPW will issue INDOS and CDC for those Agniveers who intend to explore in any of the said measures through Indian Navy. Some of the measures are devised for Agniveers with Diploma in Mechanical or Electrical Engineering or ITI Trade Certificate in Electronic or Electrical stream - either joining with these qualifications or acquiring these during their tenure with the Indian Navy," the sources added.
NIOS to facilitate 12th pass certificate for 10th pass Agniveers:
The Department of School Education and Literacy through its autonomous institution, the National Institute of Open Schooling, announced that it will institute a special programme in consultation with the Defence Authorities to enable those Agniveers who are 10th class pass to further their education and obtain a 12th class pass certificate by developing customized courses that are not only current but very relevant to their area of service. "This certificate is recognised for both employment and higher education purposes in the whole country. This will benefit the Agniveers to gain adequate educational qualification and skills to take up the productive role in society later in life," said the sources.
Degree programme by Education Ministry:
Ministry of Education has decided to launch a special, three-year skill-based bachelor's degree programme for serving defence personnel that will recognize the skill training received by them during their tenure in the defence establishments to enhance the future career prospects of Agniveers and to equip them for various job roles in the civilian sector, said the sources. The government sources further informed that the programme has been designed by IGNOU and will also be executed by them.
"50 per cent of the credits required for a graduate degree will come from the skill training -- both technical and non-technical -- received by the Agniveer, and the remaining 50% will come from a basket of courses that cover a wide variety of subjects like languages, Economics, History, Political Science, Public Administration, Sociology, Mathematics, Education, Commerce, Tourism, Vocational Studies, Agriculture and Jyotish, as also Ability Enhancement Courses on Environmental Studies and Communication Skills in English," the sources said.
It also has a provision for multiple exit points - Undergraduate Certificate on successful completion of the first-year courses, Undergraduate Diploma on successful completion of the first and second-year courses, and Degree on completion of all the courses in a three-year time frame.
Skill development for entrepreneurship and jobs:
Skill India and the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) will work collaboratively with various wings of the Armed Forces to train the students in additional skills to make them better suited for civilian jobs. "Agniveers will get Skill India certification while in service, which will enable them to pursue many diverse opportunities in entrepreneurship and job roles that are being created in our economy after completion of their tenure," said the sources.
Credit facilities for Agniveers:
In order to identify ways in which the banks and financial institutions can support the Agniveers on completion of their tenure of duty, the Secretary, Department of Financial Services (DFS) held a meeting with Chief Executives of Public Sector Banks (PSBs), Public Sector Insurance Companies (PSICs) and Financial Institutions (FIs).
"In the meeting it was decided that PSBs, PSICs and FIs would explore employment opportunities for Agniveers in suitable capacities based on their educational qualifications and skills through suitable benefits/relaxations etc," said the government sources.
It was also decided that banks would explore possibilities of supporting Agniveers through suitable credit facilities for skill upgradation, education for setting up businesses and to take up self-employment. The existing Government schemes such as MUDRA, Stand Up India etc would be leveraged for extending such support to Agniveers.
Preferential recruitment in state police forces:
Several state governments have announced that Agniveers, after serving the armed forces for 4 years, will be given preference in filling of vacancies in state police forces. The state police forces will greatly benefit from the training and discipline inculcated to Agniveers by the armed forces and their capabilities in tackling insurgency, Naxalism and natural disasters will be hugely augmented.
Corporate sector to utilize the training and skills of Agniveers:
Several corporate houses and industry bodies have welcomed the new and transformative recruitment process for the armed forces. The well-trained, disciplined and technologically savvy youth who finish their service to the armed forces will be valuable assets to their organizations, they said.