Former Chief Minister of Haryana and Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Monday said the Agnipath scheme will weaken the country's army and reduce its numbers. He said Haryana would be among the States hit the hardest by the scheme.
Addressing the party’s peaceful “Satyagraha” agitation in Rohtak against the scheme, held as part of the protests across all Assembly constituencies in the State, Mr. Hooda said there were two lakh vacancies in the armed forces since recruitment was on hold for the past three years due to COVID, but the government had come up with this scheme to play with the future of the youth instead of filling the vacant posts.
How will the Agnipath military recruitment scheme play out?
He claimed that if this scheme was implemented, the strength of the Army would gradually come down to six lakh. “This will have a very bad impact on employment, especially in Haryana. Till now 5,000-7,000 youth were recruited into the Army every year from Haryana. If there had been regular recruitment for the past three years, about 20,000 youth would have been recruited. But now only 963 Agniveers will be admitted under the new scheme and 75% of them will be pushed into unemployment after four years,” he said.
Reacting to the Haryana government's claim of providing permanent jobs to Agniveers, the former Haryana Chief Minister questioned the poor track record of the Haryana government over giving jobs to the ex-servicemen who retire every year. “If the government wants to give jobs to the Agniveers, then first they should be given permanent jobs with the State government and then sent to the Army on deputation for four years,” he suggested.
In a similar protest, a large number of party activists held a peaceful demonstration outside Sub-Divisional Magistrate office in Charkhi Dadri’s Badhra Assembly constituency under the leadership of All-India Kisan Congress national joint co-ordinator Raju Maan for more than three hours. The protesters raised slogans against the government and demanded that the scheme be rolled back. The deputy leader of Congress Legislative Party and Nuh MLA Aftab Ahmed, along with party’s Punhana MLA Choudhary Mohammad Ilias, staged a protest in Nuh.
In Rewari, the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Hooda and former Minister Captain Ajay Singh Yadav led the protests. Deepender Hooda said the BJP, which had raised the slogan of 'One Rank, One Pension' from the ‘Veer Bhoomi’ of Rewari, gathered the votes of the jawans at the time of elections and then betrayed the youth as soon as they came to power in Delhi and brought the 'No Rank, No Pension' scheme.