It is the Indian army’s new Agneepath Recruitment program, under which soldiers and Agniveers will be enlisted in order to be employed for a duration which is 4 years in duration, officially launched on June 14.
The announcement came amid an outpouring of criticism from a group of veterans who feel that the program will undermine the capabilities of the armed forces as well as hopefuls, who argue that the plan is not fair for them because it doesn’t provide retirement security or job security.
However, many policy makers and military officials insist that both of these assertions are false. The new policy of recruitment is, according to them, going to reduce the average age of those in the army, and will enable technological integration simpler. Additionally, it will reduce the cost of pensions and the savings could be used to fund modernization.
Agneepath Scheme – Criticism Factor
The scheme, however, has not been without controversy. A lot of veterans, including Lieutenant. Generals KJ Singh and Jaishankar Menon and Major Generals such as V K Madhok and Raj Mehta have spoken out against Agneeveers.
They are worried that a soldier in combat is not able to be trained in four years. The plan could compromise national security.
As Colonel Rathore is in agreement with the former veterans “the concept of shortening training can be a detriment to the range of skills for which the military trains their cadres so meticulously. For instance the Army alone has more than 150 different trades. This is atypical.
The term of a soldier , sailor or airman who is part of the Agneepath plan would be full of actions. In the course of his four-year term training for recruiting authorization leaves, as well as temporary tasks could take the duration of up to 90 days.
It is possible to train an untrained soldier to become an missile pilot, artillery and tank gunner or a machine gunner an auto driver perhaps even an scout that can move in front of the infantry unit in the remainder of the time and is lost?”
The third argument is that removing young people from the military after four years can cause security issues. With the experience of former soldiers in the age group of 38, it can be difficult to be absorbed into paramilitary forces. In the other sectors of civilian life typically, retired soldiers are offered positions as security guards for private security companies. They are generally not able to find decent jobs and depend on their pensions as well as other benefits post-retirement.
But, in the situation of Agneeveers then, you can you can make the argument, as they’ll be leaving the military at the age of 21-25 If they are not employed, be enticed by the temptation of criminal syndicates, radical political groups and, even more importantly, international intelligence services.
Instructed in handling explosives and weapons and possessing the fundamental knowledge of the functioning of military establishments this kind of person could pose a serious security risk. Some of the most entrepreneurial individuals could be part of overseas mercenary organizations as well as Private militarists (PMCs). In the end the situation in Ukraine today, numerous PMCs are fighting for their nation.
1) The Average age of a soldier will fall to 26
At present, the average age of soldiers is between 32 and 33 years. Just 19 percent of the soldiers below the rank of officer (PBOR) are under that age limit of 25 27 per cent are aged 26-30 years and 20 percent are in the 31-35 year group, 19 percent are in the 36-40 years bracket and a bit more than 10.2 percent are in the 41-45 year category, and 4.4 percent are in the an age bracket of 46-50 years.
In The Hindustan Times, which reported the figures, “median age profile of the PBOR of the Indian Army is higher as in comparison to other countries, especially China.”
In the event of the recruitment of aspirants from 17 and a-half and 21, (extended to 23 this year) and older the average age of the PBOR category will drop lower to 26 which will give the Army an increased youth-focused profile.
2) Soldiers who fit the bill to withstand harsh conditions
In along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in the Himalayas, Indian Army soldiers are stationed at altitudes ranging from 10,000 to 18,500 feet. They are able to survive in harsh terrain and continue to be on the move in conditions of sub-zero temperatures and rarefied temperatures in regions such as Siachen Glacier, north Ladakh and eastern Siachen Glacier, eastern Ladakh and north Sikkim.
In 2021, the hospital base in Leh was home to 5,349 admissions from which, at most 560 patients were admitted with high altitude pulmonary edema according to the Hindustan Times reports, adding, “The total number of admissions up to May 31 is 1947 of which 113-115 patients are suffering from edema. Chill-blains and cold bites cause more than 200 admissions. Some 250 patients were evacuated medically from the battlefield along with the LAC.”
Being young, as numerous veterans have emphasized that it makes an Indian Army more suited for missions in these regions.
3) Reduce the size of the pension budget
Because of the rising pension costs, there’s not much left to invest in modernization of the army. The problem has been in the making for many years.
The proportion of pensions in the budget for defence was 19 percent in 2012-13. It increased to 26 percent by 2019-20. The government in 2021 allocated 133 825 crore (or 28 percent) of the defence budget to pensions. Meanwhile, the capital expenditure was 1,07,233 crore which is 23 percent of the defense budget.
The result is that funding for capital expenditure is below the projected resources of the military each year. The Agneepath plan is possibly the first time an actual attempt is being made to stop the downward slide.
The primary goal of the new recruitment strategy is to stop the pension budget for the army from soaring further. It is almost one-quarter of the country’s defense budget at present and, at the very least, is partially, the main reason for the pathetic modernisation spending.