New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) With the recently-announced Agnipath scheme drawing massive flak, particularly know the youth, throughout the country, the government on Thursday sough to address certain "myths" related to the scheme.
On the claims that the future of "Agniveers", as beneficiaries of the scheme have been dubbed, is insecure, a government statement said that those wishing to be entrepreneurs, will get a financial package and bank loans.
"For those wishing to study further, they will be given Class 12 equivalent certificate and bridging course for further studies. Anyone who wish to obtain jobs, they will be given priority in CAPFs (central armed police forces) and state police. Several avenues are also being opened up for them in other sectors," it said.
To claims made that opportunities for youth will decrease as a result of Agnipath, the government maintained that the opportunities for youth to serve in armed forces will rather increase.
"In the coming years, recruitment of Agniveers will be around triple of the current recruitment in armed forces. No change is being done to the Regimental system. Infact it will be further accentuated because the best of Agniveers will be selected, further boosting cohesiveness of the unit," the government said over the point that regimental bonding will be affected.
On whether the move will impact the effectiveness of the armed forces, the government contended that such a short term enlistment system exists in most countries and hence is already tested out and considered best practice for a youthful and agile army.
"The numbers of Agniveers to be recruited in the first year would only make up 3 per cent of the armed forces. Additionally, the performance of the Agniveers will be tested before re-induction in the army after four years. Hence, army will get the tested and tried personnel for supervisory ranks," it said.
To the claims that 21-year-olds are immature and unreliable for the army, the government said that most armies across the world depend upon their youth.
"At no point of time will there be more youngsters than experienced people. The present scheme will only bring about a right mix of 50-50 per cent, slowly in a very long run, of youngsters and experienced supervisory ranks," it said.
The government also came down heavily on the contentions that Agniveers will successfully be a danger to society and join terrorist ranks, saying that "this is an insult to the ethos and values of the Indian armed forces".
"Youngsters who have worn the uniform for four years will remain committed to the country for rest of their lives. Even now, thousands retire from armed forces retire with skills etc. but there have not been any instances of them joining anti-national forces," it said in the statement.