Army may come up with modifications to Agnipath scheme based on its survey on Agniveers

Two batches of 40,000 Agniveers have completed training in the Army and are under posting; in November 2023 , the third batch of 20,000 Agniveers had begun their training.
Last Updated : 23 May 2024, 11:34 IST
Last Updated : 23 May 2024, 11:34 IST

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An internal survey is being conducted by the Indian Army on the Agnipath scheme in order to see the impact on the recruitment process so far. Based on the results of the survey the Army will draw up recommendations for the incoming government on possible changes to the scheme, The Indian Express reported.

Two batches of 40,000 Agniveers have completed training in the Army and are under posting; in November 2023 , the third batch of 20,000 Agniveers had begun their training. Three batches of 7,385 Agniveers have completed training in the Navy and 4,955 Agniveer Vayu trainees have completed their training in the IAF.

Agnipath scheme, rolled out in June 2022, is recruiting Agniveers (soldiers, airmen and sailors) in the armed forces for a period of four years. Once the four-year tenure is over, 25 per cent of them can opt to join the services on a regular basis voluntarily. However, this is solely subjected to merit and organisational requirements.

The scheme has been debatable especially in political circles ever since its launch.Congress has pledged that it would put an end to the scheme and return to the recruitment process which existed earlier.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said a week ago that the government is open to change in the scheme if need be and the future of youths, who will join as Ahniveers, will not get impacted.

Comments from all stakeholders including Agniveers, the recruiting and training staff at different regimental centres of the Army and unit and sub-unit commanders under whom the Agniveers operate, have been sought by the Army, the publication stated quoting army officials.

The responses to the specific questions for each of the groups will be consolidated and put together by the end of this month for further assessment, officials stated.

By the end of this month, the answers to the specific questions for each group will be combined and evaluated further, officials stated.

The questionnaire to which the responses would be analysed are to have 10 questions.

For example, the recruiters are expected to give inputs on the primary reasons as to why the Agniveers will join the Indian Army, how keen are they to be a part of the force. They are also expected to answer questions on the candidate’s general awareness levels, the applicant's quality and how the different candidates, both from rural and urban areas, have fared in the online entrance examination.

The recruiters are also expected to answer questions on the overall impact on Army recruitment post the implementation of the Agniveer scheme.

In comparison to soldiers recruited earlier, the Army’s training staff at the regiment centers are expected to provide details on the physical standards of the Agniveers along with the observation on their training and general educational standards. The staff is also expected to respond to various facets of training, impact of competition for permanent absorption in the Army on the Agniveers’ overall behaviour, and the bonding levels they share among each other.

The inputs received from various unit and sub-unit commanders on whether the candidates are an assent or a liability to military operations will also be sought. The inputs shall also include details on any other human resource issues which they are facing with their induction process.

The feedback should also be inclusive of comparative performance of Agniveers against the soldiers recruited before the launch of the Agnipath scheme was launched and the impact of competition among them as well as the positive/negative qualities observed in them.

On the basis of all of these, the Army might likely suggest possible changes to the Agnipath scheme precisely in terms of engagement of the Agniveers and the percentage of Agniveer retention to in the long run.

The survey will also ask Agniveers about their reasons for joining the Army, about any previous employment, whether they have attempted any competitions or recruitment before joining as Agniveers and whether they believe all Agniveers should be permanently absorbed into the army.

Additionally, the Agniveers will be providing feedback on their desired career path, other options available to them after the completion of four years, and if they wished to remain in the Army or seek employment opportunities elsewhere, including the paramilitary forces.

The Agniveers would also be expected to mention in the survey whether they would motivate their friends and family members to join as Agniveers.

Published 23 May 2024, 11:34 IST

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