On June 15, the Government of India announced the Agnipath Scheme for the recruitment of youth in the Indian Armed Forces. There have been a lot of speculations and confusion about the newly launched scheme. This list of FAQs based on the information provided by the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces will help in understanding the scheme better.
What is Agnipath Recruitment Scheme?
It is a new HR Management scheme for the Indian Armed Forces. The candidates recruited via this scheme will be called Agniveers. Once enrolled, they will be governed under the Acts of the respective Armed Forces, Army, Navy and Air Force. They will get a distinct rank in the respective Armed Forces that will be different from the existing ranks.
Every Agniveer will be required to sign documents accepting the terms and conditions of the Agnipath Scheme. If the Agniveer is under the age of 18 years at the time of enrolment, then the parents or guardian will sign the document.
The recruitment under the Agnipath scheme will be initially for four years. After that, based on the requirements and policies of the respective Armed Forces, up to 25% of Agniveers from any particular batch will be given an offer to join as regular cadres based on their performance during their four-year engagement period at the Armed Forces. The remaining 75% of Agniveers will go back to society.
What are the eligibility criteria and terms for enrolling for Agnipath Scheme?
- The candidate must be between the age of 17.5 years to 21 years.
- It is open for all classes pan India.
- All candidates must pass the medical test as per the guidelines laid down by the respective Armed Forces.
- Agniveers will get training as per the requirement of the respective Armed Forces.
- Agniveers enrolled under this entry are liable to be assigned any duty in organizational interest at the discretion of the respective Armed Forces.
Will there be any insignia on Agniveers’ uniforms to distinguish them?
To encourage and recognize the dynamism of youth, a distinctive insignia will be worn by Agniveers on their uniform during their engagement period.
Will Agniveers be eligible for awards and honours?
They will be entitled to honours and awards as per extant guidelines governing the subject for the respective Armed Forces.
What about the assessment of the Agniveers during the service period?
The Armed Forces will endeavour to maintain a centralized high-quality online database of ‘Agniveers’ and will follow a transparent common assessment methodology. An objective system to ensure fair and impartial assessment will be introduced. Skills attained by Agniveers will be systematically recorded. Broad guidelines will be framed before the appointment of the first batch of Agniveers, and the same, along with any subsequent changes, will be circulated.
Will Agniveers get yearly leaves?
Though the leaves will be granted exclusively at the discretion of the Armed Forces, they will be eligible for 30 leaves per year and sick leave based on medical advice.
Will Agniveers get a medical facility?
During their engagement as Agniveer in the Armed Forces, they will be entitled to the medical facility at Service Hospitals as well as CSD provisions.
Can Agniveer leave the Armed Forces before completion of tenure?
As per the regulations, they will not be allowed to leave the Armed Forces before completing their tenure of four years. However, in exceptional cases, the Competent Authority may allow it on a case-to-case basis.
What will be the pay, allowance and other benefits for Agniveers?
Every month, Agniveers will get Rs 30,000/- salary for the first year, and it will increase in subsequent years. 30% of the salary will be deducted as a Contribution to the Agniveer Corpus Fund. The amount accumulated by the Agniveers at the completion of the tenure will be matched by the government, and Agniveers will get approx Rs 11.5 lakhs in hand as a Seva Nidhi package. The amount that Agniveers get under Seva Nidhi will be tax-free.
Apart from the salary and Seva Nidhi package, Agniveers will get non-contributory life insurance of Rs 48 lakh that would be paid to the family in case of death of Agniveer in the line of duty. Agniveers will not pay any amount towards Provident Fund (PF). Notably, there are speculations that PF will be deducted above contribution to Agniveer Corpus Fund, which is false.
Is there any provision of compensation in case of disability or death?
In case of disability, based on the certification by the medical authority, Agniveer will get a one-time ex-gratia disability package of Rs 44 lakh for 100% disability, Rs 25 lakh for 75% disability and Rs 15 lakh for 50% disability. Agniveer will also get full payment for the non-served period from the four-year service, including the Seva Nidhi package for both served and non-served periods.
In case of death, Rs 48 lakh from the life insurance along with the Seva Nidhi package for the served period will be paid to the family of Agniveer if the recruit dies of natural causes. If Agniveer died during the line of duty, riots, violence, attacks by terrorists, anti-social elements, enemy, during peacekeeping operation or during aid to civil power etc., they will get pay for the non-served period, ex-gratia Rs 44 lakh, Seva Nidhi Package for served and non-served period.
What about those candidates who have passed the medical and physical test for recruitment in Armed Forces and currently waiting for exams?
All the recruitments in Armed Forces will be via Agniveer only. Those candidates have to reapply based on their eligibility.
What will happen to Agniveers after four years of service?
25% of Agniveers will get a call from Armed Forces for recruitment as a regular cadre. The remaining will rejoin society. Notably, PSUs, government agencies, paramilitary forces, and state governments have come forward and promised they would give preference for jobs to Agniveers who complete their four years of service in the Armed Forces.
In association with IGNOU, the Armed Forces will provide graduation degrees to Agniveers that will help them if they want to go for higher studies after completion of four years of service.
Is the Agniveer scheme open for women?
Yes, during the announcement of the scheme, it was pointed out that it would be open to women as well..