Amid firestorm over the ”Agnipath” scheme, Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal on Monday said the country’s youths should not fall for ”misinformation campaign” regarding the new recruitment process announced for the armed forces.
Calling it an ”important scheme” for the country and for those interested in working for the defence forces, Meghwal said some youths are opposing the plan unveiled last week due to misinformation, and advised them not to fall for it.
”Agnipath is an important scheme. It offers opportunities to those who want to join the armed forces,” the Union Minister of State for Culture told reporters.
”Some of the youths are opposing the scheme due to misinformation. They should not fall in the trap of certain parties who are running a misinformation campaign regarding the scheme. I welcome the scheme,” he said amid violent protests in many states against the scheme.
The BJP leader said even after 25 per cent of the recruits are absorbed for regular jobs under the programme, those who leave the forces after four years of service will get a severance package and have the opportunity to take up jobs in paramilitary forces considering they will be well trained.
Meghwal was here to attend a book launch programme of the Navjivan Trust and the National Archives of India.
Violent demonstrations were held in many states against the scheme, with several trains and railway stations set on fire by protesting youths over the last few days.
The Centre had last week unveiled the Agnipath scheme under which youths between 17.5 and 21 years (upper age relaxed for 2022 recruitment process) would be selected for induction into the three wings of the defence services for a four-year tenure. Twenty-five per cent of the recruits will be retained for regular service at the end of four years.
The government projected this scheme as a major overhaul of the decades-old selection process to enhance the youthful profile of the services. However, the scheme has invited criticism from opposition leaders who have maintained it would adversely impact the functioning of the armed forces.
Defence job aspirants are not happy with the short-term nature of the recruitment scheme which comes without pension and medical cover benefits.