Agnipath scheme: GoI announces more concessions as protests spread across India

Bihar protestors sit on railway track as they protest against GoI's army recruitment scheme Agnipath.

New Delhi: As protests against the government of India’s army recruitment scheme Agnipath continue in different states of the country, the Home Ministry of India on Saturday announced a 10% reservation for armed forces personnel in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Assam Rifles.

The Ministry of Home Affairs also announced three years of age relaxation beyond the prescribed upper age limit for aspirants for recruitment in the two paramilitary forces.

The first batch of candidates will get an age relaxation of five years beyond the prescribed upper age limit, it said.

The announcement comes days after Amit Shah announced that preference would be given to ‘Agniveers’ in the CAPFs.

The GoI has already announced a “one-time” change in the age limit for the new military recruitment scheme to 23 from 21.

The decision was taken as no recruitment has taken place in the last two years, the GoI statement said earlier.

Currently, over 73,000 posts are vacant in five wings of the paramilitary forces – Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Shastra Seema Bal (SSB), and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

As many as 73,219 posts are vacant in CAPFs and Assam Rifles, suggests Home ministry data, NDTV reported. Besides, 18,124 posts are also vacant in police forces in JK.

The 10-lakh-strong CAPF is one of the largest employment-generating agencies under the Home Ministry.

The protests against the new short-term military recruitment scheme, Agnipath, have boiled into a major issue for the government with protests now spreading to eight states.

Earlier, one person died in a police firing in Telangana. The protesters set fire to trains and damaged properties. The clashes were also witnessed in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, and Madhya Pradesh.

In Bihar, the house of Deputy Chief Minister Renu Devi was attacked amid the protests, reports said.

The protesters are unhappy with the changes in the new recruitment scheme, particularly the length of service and no pension provisions for those released early.

Earlier on Tuesday, Congress termed the scheme “controversial”, and said that “it carries multiple risks, subverts the long-standing traditions”, and may turn out to be a case of “penny wise and security foolish”.


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