Agnipath Scheme: Business tycoons, gov’t depts pitch to recruit “Agniveers”

Following widespread protest against the Agnipath scheme, Indian business tycoons have announced to employ ‘Agniveers’ after their service tenure ends. The move comes after the ruling BJP government saw massive uproar among the aspirants against the new recruitment scheme over the uncertain future of employability.

Chairperson on Mahindra and Mahindra, Anand Mahindra has taken the lead in coming support of the scheme. Soon after Mr Mahindra’s support, various business houses joined in to support the scheme and pledged to recruit Agniveers.

Mahindra tweeted, “Saddened by the violence around the Agneepath program. When the scheme was mooted last year I stated-& I repeat-the discipline & skills Agniveers gain will make them eminently employable. The Mahindra Group welcomes the opportunity to recruit such trained, capable young  people.”

Meanwhile, comments by some BJP leaders have backfired on the ruling party.

National General Secretary of BJP Kailash Vijayvargiya stated that Agniveers will be given priority in hiring guards for the BJP office. Kailash Vijayvargiya said, “I will give preference to an Agniveer to hire him as security in BJP office, even you can…People have faith in armymen.”

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Development of North Eastern Region and BJP MP – Gangapuram Kishan Reddy, stated that Agniveers will be trained to become electricians, drivers, barbers, and washermen, among others. 

Gangapuram Kishan Reddy said, “The armed forces will now be a training ground for skilled labour workforce for the nation, such as drivers, electricians etc under the Agneepath recruitment scheme. A new achievement unlocked!”

Following Mahindra, many private firms close to BJP have announced that they will be interested in hiring retired “Agniveers”.

RPG Group’s Chairman Harsh Goenka retweeted Mahindra’s tweet stating that “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.”

TVS motor company, Tata group, and Apollo Hospitals are among the corporate tycoons that lined up to save BJP’s new policy.

Government departments announce rehabilitation scheme

BJP-led state governments are also announcing programs to rehabilitate the Agniveers after four years. On Saturday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced a 10% reservation for Agniveers in Defence Ministry.

“The 10% reservation will be implemented in the Indian Coast Guard and defence civilian posts, and all the 16 Defence Public Sector Undertakings. This reservation would be in addition to existing reservation for ex-servicemen.”

RMO tweeted, “Necessary amendments to relevant recruitment rules will be undertaken to implement these provisions. Defence Public Sector Undertakings will be advised to make similar amendments to their respective recruitment rules. Necessary age relaxation provision will also be made.”

Following the defence ministry, Union Home Ministry announced a 10 per cent reservation for Agniveers in CAPFs and Assam Rifles. HMO India tweeted, “The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) decides to reserve 10% vacancies for recruitment in CAPFs and Assam Rifles for Agniveers.”

“The MHA also decides to give 3 years age relaxation beyond the prescribed upper age limit to Agniveers for recruitment in CAPFs & Assam Rifles. Further, for the first batch of Agniveer, the age relaxation will be for 5 years beyond the prescribed upper age limit,” HMO added.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Civil Aviation will also induct Agniveers after their tenure ends. Furthermore, the ministry listed down the opportunities for the Agniveers.

The Ministry tweeted, “Civil Aviation is looking forward to inducting the highly skilled, disciplined and motivated #Agniveers into its various services and give them wings to fly.”

The opportunities include:

  • Provide air traffic services, aircraft technician services
  • Undertake maintenance, repair & overhaul of aircraft
  • Provide meteorological & air accident investigator services
  • Work as flight safety, administrative, finance, IT & communications staff
  • Handle logistics and supply chain management wings of the Ministry

Union Minister Anurag Thakur told ANI, “…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.”

Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways tweeted, “Agniveers who will serve the Indian Navy under the Agnipath Scheme will be inducted into Merchant Navy through a new scheme launched by the Directorate General of Shipping under MoPSW and Indian Navy.”

Ministry of Finance issued a statement on 16th June 2022 that stated, “DFS holds meeting with Public Sector Banks, Insurance Companies & Financial Institutions to identify ways to support Agniveers.”

“PSBs, PSICs & Fls to work on modalities to support Agniveers through suitable credit facilities, existing Govt Schemes and Insurance products,” the statement added.

Education Ministry tweeted, “#BharatKeAgniveer : @EduMinOfIndia is committed to brighten the future of Agniveers! @niostwit to develop customised courses for Class 10 pass Agniveers to get Class 12 Certificates. @OfficialIGNOU will start customized Degree Courses.”

The Ministry further listed the plan of action for retired Agniveers: 

  • Customised courses for class 10th pass Agniveers to get class 12th certificates
  • 3-year skill-based bachelor’s degree programme

BJP-led state pitch plans

The state government, led mainly by BJP, has announced schemes and packages for the Agniveers to counter the uproar among the aspirants.

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath called Agnipath scheme invaluable. He further states Agniveers will be given priority in police and other services. Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Chouhan stated Agniveers would be given priority in state police recruitment.

The Uttarakhand government also announced that they will recruit Agniveers in police, disaster management and Char Dham management, followed by Assam. Haryana assures Agniveers would be given priority in-state jobs.