THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to put on hold the Agnipath scheme, saying the ''protests erupting'' against it is a clear indication of the sentiments of India's youngsters.
His statement came amid raging protests in many states including Kerala against the implementation of the scheme.
In a tweet, the Chief Minister said, ''Protests erupting against the Agnipath Scheme is a clear indication of the sentiments of India's youngsters. In the interest of our country, requested the Hon.@PMOIndia to put the scheme on hold, address criticism by professionals and duly consider the apprehensions of our youth.'' The Centre had on Tuesday unveiled the ambitious Agnipath scheme for the recruitment of youths aged between 17 and a half and 21 in the Army, Navy and the Air Force, largely on a four-year short-term contractual basis.
On Thursday night, it raised the upper age limit for recruitment under the 'Agnipath' scheme to 23 years for 2022 as the protests against the new model for enrolment of soldiers into the three services intensified.
On Saturday, the Centre also announced several incentives including reserving 10 per cent vacancies in its paramilitary and the Defence Ministry for Agnipath retirees and said it will look into any grievance about the new military recruitment scheme ''with an open mind'.
Those recruited under the scheme will be known as 'Agniveers'. After the completion of the four-year tenure, 25 per cent of the recruits from each batch will be offered regular service.