Attacking the government over the 'Agnipath' scheme, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi warned on June 15 it will reduce the operational effectiveness of the armed forces whose dignity and valour must not be compromised.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also hit out at the government and asked why it was making recruitment in the Army its "laboratory".
“When India faces threats on two fronts, the uncalled for ‘Agnipath’ scheme reduces the operational effectiveness of our armed forces. The BJP government must stop compromising the dignity, traditions, valour and discipline of our forces,” Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter. Ms. Vadra said no serious thinking or consultation preceded the announcement of the scheme.
"Why is the BJP government making recruitment in the armed forces its laboratory? Is the government finding the long service of soldiers a burden? The youth are saying this 4-year rule is a hoax. Our ex-servicemen also disagree with it. No discussion, no serious thinking on the sensitive issue of army recruitment. Just arbitrariness," she said in a tweet in Hindi.
The Union government on June 14 unveiled what it called a "transformative" scheme — "Agnipath" — for the recruitment of soldiers in the Army, Navy and the Air Force, largely on a four-year short-term contractual basis, in a major overhaul of the decades-old selection process to bring in fitter and younger troops to deal with future security challenges facing the nation.
“Under the scheme, around 46,000 soldiers will be recruited this year between the ages of 17 and a half years and 21 years into the three services,” the Defence Ministry said.
The recruitment will be based on an "all India, all-class" basis that is set to change the composition of several regiments that recruit youths from specific regions as well as castes such as Rajputs, Jats and Sikhs.
After completion of the four-year tenure of the recruits, the scheme provides for retaining 25% of each specific batch for regular service, based on organisational requirements and policies promulgated by the armed forces from time to time.