From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Agnipath Scheme
Mains level : Not Much
Defence Minister announced the ‘Agnipath’ scheme for the recruitment of youth in the armed forces for four years.
- This will be the only form of recruitment of soldiers into the three defence services from now.
- The scheme aims at strengthening national security and for providing an opportunity to the youth to serve in the armed forces.
- Recruits under the scheme will be known as ‘Agniveers’.
- After completing the four-year service, they can apply for regular employment in the armed forces.
- They may be given priority over others for various jobs in other government departments.
- The move is expected to decrease the average age profile of armed forces personnel from the current 32 to 24-26 years over a period of time.
Working of the scheme
- The process of recruitment will commence in 90 days with a planned intake of 46,000 young men and women this year.
- Enrolment to all three services will be through a centralized online system, with special rallies and campus interviews at recognized technical institutes.
- Recruitment will be carried out on an “All India All Class” basis with the eligibility age ranging from 17.5 to 21, with medical and physical fitness standards in accordance with existing norms.
Payouts of the Agniveers
- The ‘Agniveers’ will receive an annual package of ₹4.76 lakh in the first year to ₹6.92 lakh in the fourth year, apart from risk and hardship and other allowances as applicable.
- Under the ‘Seva Nidhi’ package, they will receive about ₹11.71 lakh, including contribution and interest, on completion of service.
- The recruits will have to contribute 30% of their monthly emoluments to Seva Nidhi, with a matching contribution made by the government.
- There will be no entitlement to gratuity and pension benefits under the scheme.
- However, the ‘Agniveers’ will be provided a non-contributory life insurance cover of ₹48 lakh during their service.