Protestors carrying sticks run at a railway station during a protest against the "Agnipath scheme" for recruiting personnel for the armed forces, in Patna, in the eastern state of Bihar, India Photograph:( Reuters )
Amid widespread protests against the new model for enrolment of soldiers into the three services, the Modi administration has increased the upper age limit for recruitment of soldiers from 21 years to 23 years under the Agnipath scheme
The Indian government has tweaked the Agneepath scheme following massive protests all across the country. After completion of the four-year service tenure, there will be 10 per cent reservations for the ‘Agniveers’ in central government jobs.
Amid widespread protests against the new model for enrolment of soldiers into the three services, the Modi administration has increased the upper age limit for recruitment of soldiers from 21 years to 23 years under the Agnipath scheme.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, three-year age relaxation will be given beyond the prescribed upper age limit for Agniveers for recruitment in CAPF and Assam Rifles.
Authorities in Bihar have stopped train services till 8 pm today and will be suspended again at 4 am tomorrow till 8 pm after protesters damaged public property and ransacked offices in a railway station.
At least 12 protesters were arrested and at least four policemen injured in clashes, according to Sanjay Singh, a senior police official overseeing law and order in the state.
Similar protests took place in Kolkata, Odisha, Haryana, and Punjab with thousands of young men attacking train coaches and burning tyres.
India's Defence Minister told a conference that "Perhaps because it is a new scheme, people have misunderstood it, but we have been discussing this with everyone, including ex-servicemen."
Raksha Mantri Shri @rajnathsingh has approved a proposal to reserve 10% of the job vacancies in Ministry of Defence for ‘Agniveers’ meeting requisite eligibility criteria.— रक्षा मंत्री कार्यालय/ RMO India (@DefenceMinIndia) June 18, 2022
Navy chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar told ANI that "I didn't anticipate any protests like this."
"It is the single biggest human resource management transformation that has ever happened in the Indian military," he added.
With the aim of making the military more modern and effective, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government introduced a scheme called Agnipath or "path of fire" but protesters have raised concerns that it would limit opportunities for permanent jobs in the defence forces.