Thiruvananthapuram, June 16 (Ajit Weekly News) CPI(M) Rajya Sabha member V. Sivadasan said on Thursday that contractual recruitment schemes for the armed forces such as ‘Agnipath’ will result in reducing the youth to the status of ‘mercenaries’.
His remarks came after the Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved the Agnipath recruitment scheme for the youth to serve in the armed forces for a period of four years, including six months of training. Soldiers recruited under this scheme will be inducted into the forces as ‘Agniveers’.
In a letter to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Sivadasan said the new scheme would lead to contractualisation of the armed forces, which would affect the morale of the youngsters who have been preparing to join the forces for years.
Sivadasan, the former national president of Students’ Federation of India (SFI), said that this would affect the youth from middle and lower middle-class backgrounds across the country who have been expecting to join the armed forces to serve the nation and to secure a dignified livelihood.
Sivadasan said that he was informed that 1.27 lakh vacancies exist in the armed forces and that instead of filling them up in steps, the government is resorting to contractual appointment, much to the dismay of the youth of the country.
He said there is lingering uncertainty about the future of the youth recruited temporarily and that after spending precious years in the military, these youngsters will have to retire at a young age without any gratuity or statutory allowances.
Sivadasan also said that there are concerns about national security which is not a short-term or temporary matter.
Stating that the youth across the country have taken to the streets in protest against the Agnipath scheme, the CPI(M) leader said, “Many army veterans have also expressed their displeasure with the proposed scheme as they find it harmful to the efficiency and cohesion of the armed forces.”
–Ajit Weekly News