Haryana, Bihar, UP Reject Agneepath; What To Do After Four Years? Ask Aspirants

| Updated: June 16, 2022 6:05 pm

Protests against the newly launched Agneepath, a radical recruitment plan for the Armed forces, turned violent as Army aspirants disrupted rail and road traffic in several parts of Bihar for the second consecutive day, Thursday. An angry rejection has also been registered from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

On Thursday, a train coach was set on fire at Jehnabad district while protestors lay on the tracks. In other districts of Bihar, angry mob also smashed glass windows of the intercity express train at Bhabhua Road railway station and set one coach on fire. Holding a banner saying “Indian Army Lovers,” they raised slogans rejecting the new recruitment scheme.

At the railway station in Arrah, police had to resort to tear gas shelling to disperse a huge crowd of protestors who pelted stones at the police. Visuals showed railway staff using fire extinguishers to put out a fire caused by protesters throwing furniture on the tracks and setting them alight.

In Jehanabad, students pelted stones injuring several people including cops who chased them away to clear the railway tracks where they had camped to disrupt rail traffic. Dramatic visuals from the railway station showed the police and protesting students pelting stones at each other. In Nawada, groups of young men burnt tyres at a public crossing and raised slogans demanding the rollback of the tour of duty scheme. They also blocked the railway tracks at the Nawada station and burnt tyres on the track. Visuals from the spot show a huge crowd damaging railway property and shouting expletives at PM Modi.

Agneepath, “Tour of Duty Scheme,” proposes the recruitment of jawans on a contractual basis for a four-year period followed by compulsory retirement for most without gratuity and pension benefits. The new recruitment plan aims to cut down the government’s massive salary and pension bills and free up funds for arms procurement.

Reports of violence have also been received from Saharsa and Chapra, where students led the demonstration.

Under the Agneepath scheme, about 45,000 people between the age of 17.5 years and 21 years will be inducted into the services for a four-year tenure. During this period, they will be paid a monthly salary between Rs 30,000-40,000 plus allowances. They will also be entitled to medical and insurance benefits.

After four years, only 25 per cent of these soldiers will be retained and they will go on to serve for a full 15 years in non-officer ranks. The remaining will exit the services with a package between Rs 11 lakh – ₹ 12 lakh, but won’t be eligible for pension benefits.

Under the old system, youths aged between 16.5 and 21 years were selected for a minimum of 15 years of service and used to get a pension after retirement.

Also Read: Agneepath Scheme: Leaner, Meaner Machine OR Deflates Military Morale?

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