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Centre extends age limit for Agnipath scheme from 21 to 23 years as one-time waiver amid protests

Approved by Union cabinet on June 14, the Agnipath recruitment scheme, which aims at inducting around 46,000 youth into the army, navy and air force for a period of four years, has sparked protests in many states including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Delhi.

June 17, 2022 / 01:26 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image


The Union government on June 16 raised the age limit for the 'Agnipath' recruitment scheme to 23 years from 21 years amid protests in several parts of the country.

Approved by Union cabinet on June 14, the Agnipath Recruitment Scheme aims at inducting around 46,000 youth into the army, navy and air force for a period of four years.

"​Cognizant of the fact that it has not been possible to undertake the recruitment during the last two years, the government has decided that a one-time waiver shall be granted for the proposed recruitment cycle for 2022," the government said in a release.

READ : Explained | The Agnipath scheme and why people are protesting against it

As announced earlier, the age bracket for the recruits under this scheme was between  17-and-a-half years and 21 years. The age-limit extension will, however, be applicable for the first year of recruitment only, the government said.

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“​Accordingly, the upper age limit for the recruitment process for Agnipath scheme for 2022 is increased to 23 years,” the statement said.

The protests against the scheme turned violent on June 16 as army aspirants disrupted rail and road traffic in several parts of Bihar, and other states, for the second consecutive day on June 16, according to a report in NDTV. 


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EXTENSION OF ENTRY AGE IN AGNIPATH SCHEME: Consequent to the commencement of the AGNIPATH scheme, the entry age for all new recruits in the Armed Forces has been fixed as 17 ½ - 21 years of age. The Government has decided that a one-time waiver shall be granted for the proposed recruitment cycle for 2022. ​Accordingly, the upper age limit for the recruitment process for Agnipath scheme for 2022 is increased to 23 years.

- PIB India (@PIB_India) 16 June 2022



Regular recruitment rallies were stopped after the outbreak of COVID-19. The protestors said after two years of waiting, the government had offered this short-term recruitment scheme, which will only create uncertainties in their career.

Many veterans and politicians had criticised the Centre’s new scheme saying that it would end up depriving the recruited personnel of various monetary benefits such as a pension, etc. Further, only 25 percent of the recruits will have a future in the Armed forces after the four-year period, they contended. However, the Ministry of Home Affairs has assured that Aginveers will be prioritised while recruiting Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).

Also, read | Large number of youth to benefit from increase in Agnipath age limit: Amit Shah

Chief of Army staff  General Manoj Pande said the decision to extend the age limit will provide an opportunity for many of our young, energetic and patriotic youth who, despite the COVID-19  pandemic, were preparing to join the recruitment rallies, which couldn't be completed in the last two years due COVID restrictions.

"The schedule of recruitment process will be announced shortly. We call upon our youth to avail this opportunity for joining the Indian Army as Agniveers," he said in a statement.

 
Gulam Jeelani is a journalist with over 12 years of reporting experience. Based in New Delhi, he covers politics and governance for Moneycontrol.
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