As ‘Agnipath’ protests spread, the government makes concessions

The government granted a 10% reservation for ‘Agnives’ in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Assam Rifles today, as demonstrations over the new military recruitment policy extended to eight states.

Agniveers will be granted a three-year age waiver above the authorized upper age restriction for enlistment into the two paramilitary forces, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

It was announced that the first batch of Agniveer would be given a five-year age exemption above the specified maximum age restriction.

The news comes only days after Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that ‘Agniveers’ in the CAPFs will be given priority. The Centre has previously declared that the age restriction for the new military recruiting plan would be raised to 23 from 21 for a “one-time” modification. The decision was made since there had been no recruiting in the previous two years.

READ MORE: Agnipath “Golden Opportunity” to Join Military: Rajnath Singh

Over 73,000 positions in the paramilitary forces’ five branches – Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Shastra Seema Bal (SSB), and Central Industrial Security Force – are now vacant (CISF).

According to statistics from the Union Home Ministry, there are 73,219 vacancies in the CAPFs and Assam Rifles. In addition, there are 18,124 vacancies in police units in the Union Territories.

The CAPF employs tens of thousands of people and is one of the home ministry’s leading job creators.

Despite pledges from Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, and the Army commander, demonstrations over the new short-term military recruiting plan, Agnipath, have turned into a severe problem for the government, with protests now extending to eight states.

In Telangana, a person was killed by police after a crowd set fire to trains and destroyed property, causing a security panic. Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, and Madhya Pradesh have recorded acts of violence. During the demonstrations in Bihar, the residence of Deputy Chief Minister Renu Devi was assaulted.

The demonstrators are upset about the new recruiting scheme’s alterations, especially the duration of service and the lack of pension arrangements for those discharged early.

On Tuesday, the government announced Agnipath, a “transformative” system for recruiting troops into the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Congress, on the other hand, believes that the idea is “controversial,” that it “carries many hazards,” that it “subverts long-standing traditions,” and that it might be a case of “penny wise and security stupid.”