NEW DELHI: What will happen to Agniveers after their four-year stint in the armed forces?
That’s the question that lies at the heart of the ongoing protests against the new Agnipath recruitment scheme which was unveiled by the Centre last week.
Under the scheme, 25% of the youths will be absorbed in the forces after four years but the remaining 75% will be demobilised with an exit package of Rs 11.71 lakh.
The Centre, multiple state governments as well as top industry leaders have assured the youths that their future will remain secure through a series of concessions and promises.
From setting aside 10% of jobs in ministries to helping Agniveers obtain the 12th class certificate, the governments has offered ample incentives, dubbed “ocean of opportunities” by the Centre, to assuage the concerns of youths and encourage them to join the programme.
Here are the several avenues being offered to Agniveers …
Defence ministry
* The Centre has approved reservation of 10% of the job vacancies in ministry of defence for Agniveers.
* The 10% reservation will be implemented in the Indian Coast Guard and defence posts as well as all the 16 Defence PSUs (HAL, BEL, BEML, etc).
* The ministry said that necessary age relaxation provision will also be made to enable recruitment of Agniveers to the above posts.
Home ministry
* The ministry of home affairs has also reserved 10% of vacancies for recruitment in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Assam Rifles.
* Separately, the ministry has announced that it will give three-year age relaxation to Agniveers beyond the prescribed upper age limit for recruitments in CAPFs and Assam Rifles.
* For the first batch of Agniveers, the age relaxation will be of 5 years.

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Education ministry
* The ministry will launch a special, three-year skill-based bachelor degree programme for serving defence personnel that will recognize the skill training received by Agniveers during their tenure
* Under this programme, designed by IGNOU, 50% of the credits required for a graduate degree will come from the skill training – both technical and non-technical – received by the Agniveer, and the remaining 50% will come from a basket of courses that cover a wide variety of subjects.
* The degree will be awarded by IGNOU as per UGC nomenclature (BA, BCom, BA [vocational], BA [Tourism Management]), and will be recognized both in India and abroad for employment and education.
* Separately, the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) will institute a special programme to enable Agniveers who have cleared 10th standard to further their education and obtain a 12th class certificate
* This will be done by developing customised courses that are relevant to the Agniveer’s area of service.
* The certificate will be recognised for both employment and higher education purposes in India.
Skill development for entrepreneurship and jobs
* Skill India and the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship (MSDE) will work collaboratively with the forces to train the students in additional skills to make them better suited for civilian jobs.
* Agniveers will get Skill India certification while in service, which will enable them to pursue many diverse opportunities in entrepreneurship and job roles that are being created in our economy after completion of their tenure.
* Skill India organisations such as Directorate General of Training (DGT), National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), etc will be connected with this exercise.
Ministry of finance
* Schemes like MUDRA & Stand up India will be leveraged to extend credit support to Agniveers to set up businesses after their stint.
* Department of Telecom will provide employment opportunities in areas of Optical Fibre Maintenance, Fibre to Home (FTTH), Customer Interface, etc
Merchant Navy
* The Directorate General of Shipping under ministry of ports shipping and waterways (MoPSW) along with Indian Navy has announced a system for the smooth induction of the Agniveers into the Merchant Navy.
* Under this, MoPSW announced six attractive service avenues for transition of Agniveers in various roles of the Merchant Navy after their stint with the Navy.
* The measures include transition from Ratings in Indian Navy to Certified Ratings in Merchant Navy, transition from Electrical Ratings in Indian Navy to Certified Electro Technical Ratings in Merchant Navy, transition from Ratings in Indian Navy to Certified Class IV-NCV CoC holder in Merchant Navy, transition from Electrical Ratings in Indian Navy to Certified Electro Technical Officers in Merchant Navy and transition from Cook in Indian Navy to Certified Cook Merchant Navy.
State police forces
* Several state governments have announced that Agniveers will be given preference in filling of vacancies in state police forces after their tenure.
* The governments said that the state police forces will greatly benefit from the training and discipline inculcated to Agniveers by the armed forces and their capabilities in tackling insurgency, naxalism and natural disasters will be hugely augmented.

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Plethora of opportunities
Besides these, several leading industries & corporates have also evinced interest in the youths who complete their tenure as Agniveers in the armed forces.
Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra has said that the conglomerate will recruit “trained and capable” Agniveers.
Taking to Twitter, Anand said he is saddened by the violence around the Agnipath program.
“Saddened by the violence around the Agneepath program. When the scheme was mooted last year I stated and I repeat-the discipline and skills Agniveers gain will make them eminently employable. The Mahindra Group welcomes the opportunity to recruit such trained, capable young people,” he said in a tweet.
Several corporate houses and industry bodies have welcomed the new and transformative recruitment process for the armed forces. The well trained, disciplined and technologically savvy youth who finish their service to the armed forces will be valuable asset to their organizations, they said.
Responding to Mahindra’s tweet, RPG Enterprises chairman Harsh Goenka said, “The RPG group too welcomes the opportunity to employ the Agniveers. I do hope other corporates will also join us to take this pledge and assure our youths of a future.”
Other industry leaders such as Biocon Ltd chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and TVS Motor Company Managing Director Sudarshan Venu also publicly expressed support to the new scheme.
Meanwhile, Union minister Anurag Thakur said that special training will be given to Agniveers who want to become physical education teachers.
” … To provide some crash courses and to provide training to those who want to become physical education teachers. 15 lakh physical education teachers’ posts are lying vacant in various states. We’re thinking in this direction also,” Thakur said.

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