Agnipath: Selection to salary to severance, here's what the scheme offers 'Agniveers'
The central government on Tuesday announced a recruitment scheme under which soldiers will be recruited for four-year service periods, after which a quarter will be brought into regular service. The scheme has been named Agnipath and the youth selected under the scheme will be known as ‘Agniveers’.
The recruitment process for personnel below officer rank between the ages of 17-and-a-half to 21 years will reportedly begin in the next three months.
“The scheme will increase employment opportunities and aim to create a youthful profile of the armed forces. The ‘Agniveers‘ will be given a good pay package and an exit retirement package after four years of service," Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said at a press conference after a Union Cabinet meeting.
Here’s all you need to know about the short-term recruitment scheme for soldiers:
Recruitment: The age limit for applicants ranges from 17.5 years to 21 years. Candidates will be enrolled under the respective Service Act for a duration of four years, including training period. They will be imparted rigorous military training at the existing training centres.
Top sources told News18 that over 45,000 recruits would be taken into the three services in the first go.
Financial Package: The composite annual package for the first year would approximately be Rs 4.76 lakh with upgradation in the fourth year to approximately Rs 6.92 lakh. Applicable allowances include risk and hardship, ration, dress, travel etc
Seva Nidhi: As reported by News18 earlier this month, the scheme includes a Seva Nidhi package, which entails that, every month, a soldier will contribute 30% of his emoluments and the government will also contribute an equal amount. At their retirement after four years, the soldiers will receive around Rs 11.71 lakh, exempted from Income Tax.
Sources told News18 that soldiers would be provided with two options to claim the Seva Nidhi package. One option would be to credit Rs 1 lakh into the soldier’s account when he is released after four years and converting the remaining amount into bank guarantees for raising loans. The second is to credit the entire amount to the soldier’s account in one go.
Death Compensation: In the unfortunate event of death, the financial package for soldiers under Agnipath includes non-contributory life insurance cover of Rs 48 lakh, additional ex-gratia of Rs 44 lakh for death attributable to service and pay for unserved portion up to four years, including the Seva Nidhi component
Disability Compensation: In case of disability, soldiers will be given compensation based on the percentage of disability laid down by medical authorities. Soldiers will receive one-time ex-gratia of Rs 44 lakh/Rs 25 lakh/Rs 15 lakh in the event of 100%/75%/50% disability, respectively.
On Completion of Tenure: After the four-year tenure, soldiers candidates will receive Seva Nidhi benefits and certificates and credits for higher education. Agniveers can apply on voluntary basis to enrol in regular cadre.
Sources had told News18 last month that the Army is rooting for the retention of maximum soldiers, which can be gradually reduced over a period of time instead of an immediate cut.
They had added that it is also being explored if the trained manpower released from the Army at the end of their short-term contracts can be absorbed into the paramilitary forces, which can reduce the latter’s cost of training its personnel.