No Question of Roll Back; Doval says Pressing the Media

Story Highlights
  • NSA chief asserts no roll back of the scheme is being entertained.
  • According to him the Agniveers would forma force for internal security post retirement.
  • Around 45,000 soldiers both male and female will be recruited this year.

New Delhi: Addressing media reporters on Tuesday, Defence Minister Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor underscored that the Agnipath scheme will not be rolled back.

The NSA chief is the latest dignitary deployed to the team authorized to recruit Agniveers under the new scheme. Since its launch, the scheme has sparked nationwide protests demanding a change in the terms of employment. Under the scheme, only 25 per cent of the recruits may be given a regular commission of 14 years thereafter.

There is no question of rollback,” he told a media house in an interview, arguing that the new system will ensure a younger and more tech-savvy army. “India has among the youngest populations in the world, yet it cannot continue to have an army with a high average age.” 

Rubbishing the fears that the Agniveers released after 4 years would become vested interests ‘as mercenaries for hire’, Doval said, for law and order, the most important thing is for the citizens to be law-abiding, Mr Doval asserted that the Agniveers will have such training and commitment towards the society that they will in fact be “a force for internal security”. 

The scheme was launched by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in the presence of three chiefs- who abided by the scheme calling it beneficial for the youth of the nation. Under the scheme men and women in the age bracket, 17 and a half to 21 were eligible for recruitment. Later the upper age limit was extended until 23 years. Around 45,000 soldiers this year will be hired which would be subsequently increased in the coming years.

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