New Delhi: The Indian Army will recruit 1.75 lakh Agniveers in the next four years, Army Vice Chief Lt Gen BS Raju said on Friday.
Interacting with a select group of journalists, he said that there will be a number of opportunities for the Agniveers after completing four years in service.
“The Indian Army is going to recruit 40,000 Agniveers this year, another 40,000 in 2023, followed by 45,000 in 2024 and 50,000 in 2025. This will go on to recruiting 90,000 and 1.20 lakh Agniveers by the eighth year,” he said.
The Vice Chief said that the recruitment of Agniveers will even touch 1.50 lakh an year.
The Lt Gen stated that the benefits include priority in government jobs and a Seva Nidhi package of Rs 11.71 lakh which the Agniveer can use for setting up a business or pursuing further studies.
“The Agnipath scheme has been introduced after a well thought out process. This is a model that benefits the individual (Agniveer), the Army and the society in general. We will keep 25 per cent Agniveers in the Army which would reduce our age profile in ten years. An skilled and educated youth will go to the society in other fields. This would be beneficial for all the three,” he stressed.
He said that the Education Ministry also announced that a 10th pass Agniveer will be given a 12th class certificate after four years of service.
Responding to apprehensions that the Agnipath scheme will impact regimental bonding and cohesiveness in a unit, the Army Vice Chief claimed that it would not happen.
“How does the regimentation come ? Army troops work for a common purpose. They live together and work together. They eat together. This automatically creates bonding among the soldiers. There is no change in the regimentation system,” he said.
The Vice Chief said that one should belive that these four years with the Indian Army is an opportunity to work and learn.
“This is a stepping stone to another job, another opportunity to further take his profile upwards. There are so many defence industries… I have not made a single Short Service Commission officer who is not employed at a good place,” he said.
Responding to queries as to how the Army is dealing with the shortage of soldiers since the recruitment couldn’t take place in last two years due to the pandemic, the Vice Chief said that the Indian Army has readjusted the soldiers depending upon the requirement.
“I can assure you that wherever we need more strength, like our northern border or the western border… We have made full arrangements,” he said.
He also said that the Army was encouraging trained NCC youth to join the ranks.