Ministry of Defence
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Cabinet clears ‘Agnipath’ scheme for recruitment of youth in the Armed Forces

Agniveers to be enrolled under respective Service Acts for four years; One time ‘Seva Nidhi’ package to be paid to Agniveers upon completion of engagement period of four years

New Delhi, June 14, 2022

The Union Cabinet today approved a new recruitment scheme, called Agnipath, under which youth will be enrolled to serve in the Armed Forces for a period of four years.

Described it as a "transformative reform", the Ministry of Defence said the youth selected under the scheme would be known as Agniveers.

The Ministry said the Agniveers would be given an attractive customised monthly package along with risk and hardship allowances as applicable in the three services.

On completion of the engagement period of four years, Agniveers will be paid a one-time ‘SevaNidhi’ package which shall comprise their contribution including accrued interest thereon and matching contribution from the Government equal to the accumulated amount of their contribution including interest.

Under the scheme, the Agniveers will, in the first year, get a customised monthly package of Rs 30,000, out of which they will get Rs 21,000 (70%) in hand, while the remaining 9,000 will go as their contribution to the Agniveer Corpus Fund. There will be a matching contribution of Rs 9,000 by the Government of India.

The monthly package will go up to Rs 33,000; Rs 36,500 and Rs 40,000 in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th year, respectively, with matching increases in the contribution to the Agniveer Corpus Fund.

On exit after four years, the Agniveers will get a Seva Nidhi package of Rs 11.71 lakh, including interest accumulated on the amount as per the applicable interest rates.

The Seva Nidhi package will be exempt from income tax. There shall be no entitlement to gratuity and pensionary benefits. Agniveers will be provided non-contributory life insurance cover of Rs 48 lakh for the duration of their engagement period in the Indian Armed Forces.

A total of 46,000 Agniveers will be recruited this year, the release said. The Agniveers will form a distinct rank in the Armed Forces, different from any other existing ranks.

Upon the completion of the four years of service, based on organisational requirement and policies promulgated by the Armed Forces from time to time, Agniveers will be offered an opportunity to apply for permanent enrolment in the Armed Forces. These applications will be considered in a centralised manner based on objective criteria including performance during their four-year engagement period and up to 25% of each specific batch of Agniveers will be enrolled in regular cadre of the Armed Forces. Detailed guidelines will be issued separately. The selection will be the exclusive jurisdiction of the Armed Forces, the release said.

Enrolment will be undertaken through an online centralised system for all three services with specialised rallies and campus interviews from recognised technical institutes such as Industrial Training Institutes and National Skills Qualifications Framework, among others.

Enrolment will be based on "All India All Class" basis and the eligible age will be in range from 17.5 to 21 years. Agniveers will meet the medical eligibility conditions laid down for enrolment in the Armed Forces as applicable to respective categories/trades. The educational qualification for Agniveers will remain as in vogue for enrollment in various categories. {For example: For entry into General Duty (GD) soldier, the educational qualification is Class 10).

"During this period of service, the Agniveers will be imparted with various military skills and experience, discipline, physical fitness, leadership qualities, courage and patriotism. Post this stint of four years, the Agniveers will be infused into the civil society where they can contribute immensely towards the nation building process. The skills gained by each Agniveer will be recognised in a certificate to form part of his unique resume.

"Agniveers, on completion of the four-year tenure in the prime of their youth, will be mature and self-disciplined with the realisation to become better version of himself/herself both professionally as also personally. The avenues and opportunities that will open up for their progress in the civil world after Agniveer tenure would certainly be a big plus towards nation building. Moreover, the ‘Seva Nidhi’ of approximately Rs 11.71 lakh would aid the Agniveer to pursue his/her future dreams without the financial pressure, which is normally the case for young people from the financially deprived strata of society," the release said.

The individuals, selected for enrolment in the Armed Forces as regular cadre, would be required to serve for a further engagement period of minimum 15 years and would be governed by the existing terms and conditions of service of Junior Commissioned Officers/Other Ranks in Indian Army and their equivalent in Indian Navy and Indian Air Force and that of Non Combatant enrolled in the Indian Air Force, as amended from time-to-time.

"The scheme will lead to much more youthful and technically adept war fighting force by ensuring a fine balance between youthful and experienced personnel in the Armed Forces," the release said.

"The Agnipath scheme has been designed to enable a youthful profile of the Armed Forces. It will provide an opportunity to the youth who may be keen to don the uniform by attracting young talent from the society who are more in tune with contemporary technological trends and plough back skilled, disciplined and motivated manpower into the society.

"As for the Armed Forces, it will enhance the youthful profile of the Armed Forces and provide a fresh lease of ‘Josh’ and ‘Jazba’ whilst at the same time bring about a transformational shift towards a more tech savvy Armed Forces – which is indeed the need of the hour,"the release said.

The Ministry said it was envisaged that the average age profile of the Indian Armed Forces would come down by about 4-5 years by implementation of this scheme.

"The nation stands to immensely benefit by infusion of highly inspired youth with deeper understanding of self-discipline, diligence and focus who would be adequately skilled and will be able to contribute in other sectors. The dividends of a short military service to the nation, society and the youth of the nation are immense. This includes inculcation of patriotism, team work, enhancement of physical fitness, ingrained loyalty for the country and availability of trained personnel to boost national security in times of external threats, internal threats and natural disasters," the release said.

"This is a major defence policy reform introduced by the Government to usher in a new era in the Human Resource policy of the three Services. The policy, which comes into immediate effect, will hereafter govern the enrolment for the three services," it said.

NNN

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