(This article is authored by Alar)
In the midst of growing agitation against the Agnipath scheme, which is a contract-based recruitment service for the armed forces, Union Minister and former Army Chief General VK Singh has staunchly slammed the Agnipath protesters and asked them not to join the armed forces. His response has come when the BJP government is been criticized by the opposition parties and the young people for rolling out this contentious scheme.
While addressing the reporters during the press conference at an event in Nagpur, Maharashtra, VK Singh said, "Joining the Army is voluntary and not a compulsion. If any aspirant wants to join, he can join as per his wish, we don't conscript soldiers. But if you don't like this recruitment scheme (Agnipath), then don't come and join. Who is asking you to come? You are burning buses and trains. Who told you that you will be recruited into the armed forces?."
He further said, "You will be selected only if you fulfil the eligibility criteria. There is no space for indiscipline in the armed forces. No space for arson and vandalism. Every individual who aspires to join Agnipath has to give an undertaking and pledge that they have not taken part in any protest or arson. There will be police verification after that. No one can come into the armed forces without police verification."
Singh has asserted that the scheme won't be taken back and also urged the protesters to submit an undertaking that they didn't take part in any form of protest. Air Marshal SK Jha stated that the notification and registration process for enrolment of the first batch would go live online from June 24 through the online system of the Indian Air Force. He said, "From July 24, an online examination will start, and by end of December, we will enrol the first batch and on December 30, the training will commence."
The Navy's Vice-Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi said, "By November 21, the first batch of Agniveers will report at our training centre INS Chilka. The Agniveers will be gender-neutral. Women will also be inducted." Indian Army's Lieutenant General CB Ponnappa said, "On July 1, we will have notification from all recruitment offices. The first rallies will start in the first week from August to November. The induction will be done into training centres in two batches."
On the other hand, Anand Mahindra, the Chief Executive of Mahindra, has expressed his support for the Agnipath scheme. He said, "The violence over the Agnipath project was regrettable. I repeat what I said when the project was discussed last year. The skill training and discipline provided to fighters make them qualified to be hired. Mahindra Group wants to provide employment to such trained and talented young people."
Reacting to Mahindra's post, a user asked what kind of jobs would be provided to Agniveers. Anand Mahindra responded "There are a lot of jobs for Agniveers in the corporate sector. Aspirants come with the skills needed for the industry through leadership traits, team effort, and fitness. Jobs available in many fields from management to the distribution system."