At a press conference on Tuesday, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and the three service chiefs unveiled the Agnipath short-term defense recruitment policy. “Today, the Cabinet Committee on Security took a historic decision to approve the transformative ‘Agnipath’ initiative. As a result of this, Indian youngsters will have the opportunity to join the Armed Forces,” the defense minister added.

The introduction of the defense recruitment scheme was attended by Army Chief General Manoj Pande, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, and Navy Chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar.

“Efforts are being made under the ‘Agnipath’ initiative to develop a youthful profile of the Armed Forces. It would aid in their training for new technologies as well as improving their health. This program will enhance job prospects for people with new abilities in a variety of fields,” defense minister Rajnath Singh stated.

“The recruitment methodology is based on a merit-based selection procedure that takes place across India. We’re searching for the best people between the ages of 17.5 and 21 to serve in the military. “Agniveers” would serve for four years with us once selected,” said Lt Gen Anil Puri, Additional Secretary, Department of Military Affairs.

The key characteristics of the ‘Agnipath’ defense recruitment scheme are as such:

1. Agnipath recruiting will be open to men and women in stages, depending on service requirements. Applicants between the ages of 17 and a half and 21 will be considered for the program.

2. Medical and physical fitness requirements will be in line with industry standards. According to the armed forces, individuals who have passed their 10th and 12th exams are eligible.

3. In terms of remuneration, the ‘Agniveers’ will be paid Rs. 4.76 lakhs per annum in the first year, increasing to Rs. 6.92 lakhs in the fourth year of service.

4. Risk, hardship, and other allowances will be applied in accordance with current regulations. A total of Rs.11.7 lakhs, including contribution and interest, is payable upon completion of four years of service.

5. The ‘Agniveers’ will contribute 30% of the emoluments, with the central government contributing a corresponding proportion.

6. Additionally, the Seva Nidhi Package will be income tax exempt.

7. After four years of service, the ‘Agniveers’ will be eligible to apply for regular cadre on a voluntary basis. Up to 25% of that batch will be chosen based on merit and organizational requirements. The assessment system will be transparent, objective, automated, and centrally managed.

8. For supreme sacrifice in the line of duty during the duration, each ‘Agniveer’ was given a non-contributory insurance policy of one crore rupees plus full payment for the period not served.

9. If an ‘Agniveer’ unfortunately becomes handicapped during the tenure, the unexpired portion of the tenure will be paid in full, as well as the Seva Nidhi package with full interest. Apart from that, the scheme provides a provision for a lump sum payment of Rs. 44 lakh depending on the percentage of disability.

10. The first ‘Agniveers’ batch will take place 90 days from today.

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