Agnipath recruitment scheme is a game changer initiative for the armed forces and it is going to act as force multiplier in making Indian military one of the best in the world with youthful outlook, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday.
In his virtual address at an event, he said the scheme is going to help transform the armed forces into a tech-savvy, well-equipped and combat ready unit to face future challenges.
The defence ministry, education ministry, skill development and entrepreneurship ministry and all the three services exchanged MoUs with various stakeholders to facilitate continued education of Agniveers while serving in the armed forces.
Under these MoUs with National Institute of Open School (NIOS) and Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), suitable 12th class certificates and Bachelor’s degree will be awarded to the Agniveers pursuing relevant courses, according to the defence ministry.
“The job roles/skill sets of Agniveers, while being trained and deployed with the armed forces, have been mapped with National Occupational Standards (NOS), in coordination with National Skill Development Corporation and Sector Skill Councils,” the defence ministry said.
It said “based on these qualifications, market-ready and industry-accepted, ‘Kaushal Praman Patra’ will be issued to Agniveers at the time of their exit from the armed forces”.
In his remarks, Singh stated that with the signing of these MoUs, Agniveers will be able to complete their education in a timely manner and develop additional qualities and skills.
When Agniveers return to the society after being equipped with all these qualities, they will contribute to nation building, he said.
Singh added that helping ‘Agniveers’ would be a win-win situation for all as they will not only become ‘Surakshaveers’ for the nation by rendering their services in the armed forces, but also become ‘Samriddhiveers’ by contributing to the nation’s prosperity.
They will be beneficial for the whole society contributing to nation building through their education, skill, discipline and other qualities, he said. Singh also complimented the home ministry, railways, various state governments and the private sector for extending support to Agniveers in various services.
He also called upon other ministries, state governments and the corporate sector to come forward with more enthusiasm and provide new opportunities to the Agniveers as far as possible.
Under the Agnipath scheme, announced on June 14 last year, the three services are recruiting youths between the age bracket of 17-and-half years and 21 years for four years with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 more years.
For 2022, the upper age limit has been extended to 23 years.
Several parts of India had witnessed violent protests against the scheme with the agitators demanding its roll back as the new model does not provide a job guarantee to 75 per cent of recruits. But the protests fizzled out within weeks.
In a video message at the event, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the MoUs/agreements would empower the serving Agniveers to get maximum benefit.
He added that NOS will help them pass 10th and 12th exams, while enrolled Agniveer in university could complete 50 per cent syllabus of general higher studies, the rest credit could be earned through skill development training provided by defence institutions.
The ceremony was attended by the chief of defence staff and chiefs of all three services.