Will scrap ‘Agnipath’, revert to old recruitment scheme if voted to power: Congress

Kharge highlighted the "gross injustice" done to the youngsters seeking employment in the armed forces due to the Agnipath scheme.


Published Feb 26, 2024 | 3:00 PMUpdatedFeb 26, 2024 | 8:02 PM

Mallikarjun Kharge

Stepping up its attack on the Union government over the “Agnipath” military recruitment scheme, the Congress alleged on Monday, 26 February, that “gross injustice” was done to youngsters and asserted that it would revert to the old recruitment scheme if voted to power at the Centre.

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge wrote to President Droupadi Murmu on Monday, highlighting the “gross injustice” done to the youngsters seeking regular employment in the armed forces due to the “Agnipath” scheme, and urged her to ensure justice for them.

The future of nearly two lakh young men and women has become uncertain due to the scrapping of the regular recruitment process in the armed forces, Kharge said in his letter to the president, who is the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces.

Kharge shared his letter on X and said the Congress is with the youths in the fight for justice for the armed forces aspirants “who are full of patriotism and bravery”.

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Kharge’s letter

    • Kharge highlights the injustice faced by numerous youths due to unfulfilled promises made by the Indian government.
    • He mentions the frustration and hopelessness experienced by these youths, leading to reported suicides.
    • Kharge emphasises the necessity for justice and the implementation of the NYAY scheme.
    • He recounts meeting young men and women who were selected for service in the Indian Armed Forces but were denied the opportunity.
    • Approximately 2 lakh candidates were informed of their acceptance into the armed services between 2019 and 2022, only to have their dreams shattered by the government’s decision to introduce the Agnipath scheme in place of the previous recruitment process.
    • General MM Naravane’s memoir reveals surprise within the Army and other services regarding the Agnipath scheme.
    • Kharge criticises the Agnipath scheme, labelling it discriminatory and raising concerns about its impact on social stability

Congress leaders’ response

    • Sachin Pilot, Congress general secretary, expresses disapproval of the Agnipath scheme, stating there was no demand for it.
    • Pilot argues that the scheme won’t benefit anyone in the long term and advocates for a return to the old recruitment system.
    • He suggests that if modernisation is needed, it can be achieved within the existing system.
    • Deepender Hooda, another Congress leader, criticizes the BJP-led government for implementing the scheme without proper consultation.
    • Hooda demands a rollback of the Agnipath scheme and a return to the previous recruitment process.

Details of the Agnipath scheme

  • Introduced in June 2022, the Agnipath scheme aims to shorten the induction period of personnel into the armed forces, aiming to reduce the age profile.
  • It recruits candidates aged between 17 and a half to 21 years for a four-year term, with provisions to retain 25% for an additional 15 years.

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