Agniveers will be eligible for gallantry awards: Department of Military Affairs

New Delhi: Agniveers will be eligible for gallantry awards, the Department of Military Affairs said on Tuesday, reported ANI. The statement came at a time when protests have been witnessed against the Agnipath scheme in different parts of the country.

“Agniveers will be eligible for gallantry awards. Patriotism or working in the army is a passion… it is not a provision for a job,” Lieutenant General Anil Puri, Additional Secretary, Department of Military Affairs said today at a presser, reported ANI.

The youth selected under ‘Agnipath’ scheme will be known as ‘Agniveers’. About 46,000 of them will be recruited this year.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on June 14 said that the scheme is a transformative initiative and under it Indian youngsters will get an opportunity to serve in armed forces. “The scheme will increase employment opportunities and aim to create a youthful profile of the Armed forces,” Singh said.

“The ‘Agniveers’ will be given a good pay package and an exit retirement package after four years of service,” Singh said.

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

Also, it will bring a transformative reform of recruitment policy of the Armed Forces and provide a unique opportunity to the youth to serve the country and contribute to nation building.

It is envisaged that average age profile of Indian Armed forces would come down by about four-five years by implementation of this scheme and 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 benefits 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.

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.

‘Agniveers’ will be offered a salary package of Rs 4.76 lakh in the first year which goes up to Rs 6.92 lakh in the fourth and final year.

The ‘Seva Nidhi’ will be exempted 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.

During this four years period of service to the nation, the ‘Agniveers’ will be imparted with various military skills and experience, discipline, physical fitness, leadership qualities, courage and patriotism.

(With inputs from IANS)

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