NEW DELHI: The three service chiefs are set to announce and reveal the details of a much-debated short-term recruitment policy called ‘Agnipath’ at a press conference around 12.30 pm today, officials said.
Soldiers recruited under the new model (also referred to as tour of duty in the past) will be inducted in the armed forces as ‘Agniveers’, a new distinct rank, as opposed to sepoys who joined the Indian Army under the legacy recruitment model, according to an HT reported on Tuesday.
‘Agniveers’ will form a distinct rank in the three services, and will also wear a distinct insignia as part of their uniform.
The announcement will set the stage for the army to restart its recruitment process after a two-year freeze caused by Covid-19 restrictions.
The ‘Agnipath’ model envisages the recruitment of personnel below officer rank (PBOR) in the army, air force and navy for four years, including six months of training, the officials said.
The proposed model has been at the centre of an intense debate in military circles, with several veterans questioning the concept and arguing that disadvantages may outweigh the advantages.
The soldiers recruited under ‘Agnipath’ will be released from service after four years, though the new system will have a provision for retaining around 25% of them after another round of screening. They are likely to be given a severance package of over ₹11 lakh, though they will not be entitled to pensions. However, the ones retained will serve in the defence services for another 15 years, and will be entitled to pensions.
The recruits under ‘Agnipath’ will draw a salary of ₹30,000-40,000 per month, officials said, adding that they will also get a non-contributory insurance cover of ₹48 lakh. They will also get an ‘Agniveer skill certificate’ that will help them find jobs after release from service, the officials said.