From ‘Naam, Namak aur Nishan’ to ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ – Conscription, Agneepath, and the Brilliance of Modi Sarkar!
It’s almost a month since the historic and reformative Agneepath scheme was announced by the office of our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri. Narender Modi Ji. The Agneepath Scheme comes as an opportunity for the youth citizens of this country to get their dream of fulfilling the desire to serve the nation by enrolling in the armed forces.
Ever since the release of this programme, there have been rumours and false information about it that I wish to debunk for my readers once and for all. However, before I begin, I would firstly like to address that as a patriotic citizen of this holy democratic country, my opinion on this particular subject is purely based on my personal neutral and unbiased opinions about the Indian Armed Forces keeping the universal conscription in mind. The article speaks about the schemes and its prospect regarding the future of the candidate enrolling in the Agneepath Scheme.
The Scheme is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to imbibe a lifestyle of military-trained discipline in the form of skill and livelihood. It is considered one of the biggest opportunities given by the Government of India to serve the nation in various fields of Armed forces such as the Indian Navy, Indian Army, and Indian Airforce.
Agneepath is yet another master stroke by the Modi Government where a transformative military scheme is introduced largely on a short-term contractual basis by enabling a youthful profile of the armed forces for citizens to participate. The recruited individuals in this scheme will be called Agniveers. This is one of the noblest and career-driven opportunities for young Indians to be a part of the world’s best military services while gaining multifariousness and diverse skills. It is one of the major reforms ever to get into the defence system through a meticulously sorted and thought process. I believe this speaks of nothing but a new era.
Agneepath is one of the most systematically drafted graduation programme in which the candidate will be given 4 years of education along with the needed skills that they can utilise in various sectors of the defence force. The Government of India is also allowing recruiters to have no less than 25% into the permanent commission if successful in their regiment.
Now it is high time that I address the need for a scheme like Agneepath. India, a geographically beautiful and resourceful country is sitting on soil that is surrounded by tricky neighbours, especially Pakistan in the North-west and China in the North. All the global affairs related to these two countries have thoroughly shown as in the record, that we give them a lot of reasons to worry. They are always on a brink of war with us. It is the cultural beauty of our Indian-ness that we never promote or resort to violence. But it is just not the case with these two countries. Our Security is always under threat as we march in confidence becoming the most speedily growing economic power in this world.
Take a look at the Russo-Ukrainian war. By now, reading all the war affairs must have made all of us understand that powerful countries will always try to make the worst out of another culturally rich, and peaceful country for their own personal gain and vendetta. It is very important to mention that in the latest version of the war, Ukraine has greatly surprised Russian forces and the rest of the world, which, by the fact where under an impression similar to that of the Crimea peninsula annexation from Ukraine by Russian forces in 2014.
In the Russo-Ukraine war despite high power, Ukraine with its 5.5 lakhs troops were ready to fight and along with them around 2 lakhs civil population fought against Russian forces. From defense angle, Ukraine does not have even one-tenth of Russian capacity but by the virtue of which they have given significant resistance against the Russian invasion, it is highly commendable. People who were previously thinking that war will last less than a week have now started anticipating that the Ukraine might even counter attack & reclaim its colonies from Russia. What made this possible? Off course, the unquestionable and untouchable spirit and strength of the Ukrainian ground forces.
We all must collectively remember that, India is no less than a superpower in itself. And we must always be prepared for foreign elements trying to destroy our peace and prosperity. Therefore, schemes like Agneepath cannot be seen as a blessing in disguise, but it is needed at the demand of this particular hour.
Conscription Around the World
I was reading it somewhere at the oppositions had quoted saying the scheme was not given much of a thought. But that is not the case. The proposers who studied, and researched the implementation of the scheme made the programme taking inspiration from countries around the world. I must say, just like our constitution, the Agneepath scheme too is tailor-made for Indians. I am sure by now you must have heard the phrase called Conscription. Even though conscription is about serving the country, the phrase has come to have a bad reputation. Conscription into the military refers to the compulsory enlisting of civilians. This is also not just about forced patriotism but also cultural nuances that teach its civilians to portray themselves to the world.
Lucky for us in India, especially for the lazy breeds, we do not have conscription because our values, norms, and understanding of our discipline and culture come from within the walls of our homes. However, just for the sake of this article, I would like to shortly take you through a few countries where conscription is practised:
Singapore: As per the national policy of Singapore, it is mandatory for all the male citizens of the country and second-generation permanent residents to service for 2 years in the Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Forces or Singapore Civil defence Forces. It is an historical fact that at the time of their partition from Malaysia, the economy of Singapore was not even 1/10th of the economy of its counterpart. In fact, Malaysians was more than happy to get themselves freed from Singapore. But now, the scenario has changed and presently 1 Singapore Dollar is around 3.20 Malaysian Ringgit. Proper case study of the information is out of scope of this article, but the mandatory Défense Internship of 2 years for all male population immediately after intermediate is one of the reasons behind this positive transformation of Singapore.
Israel: All Israeli residents above 18 are required to serve in the national military, while several exceptions can be made for religious, physical, or mental reasons. Unlikely women, they may volunteer for a unit that requires longer service of 24 months.
South Korea: All Korean men who are physically capable are required to enrol before the age of 30 for a period of service that lasts around two years. Although they are not compelled to serve in the military, women can freely enlist.
Russia: After completing their 12-month mandatory conscription, Russian troops are eligible to enlist in the country’s military reserves. Conscription has traditionally been utilised by the Russian army to maintain trained reserves in case a big war needs to be mobilised.
Switzerland: All physically fit male citizens of Switzerland are conscripted into the Swiss Army when they reach the age of majority, however, women are free to volunteer for any role.
Should India too have conscription?
Well, as I already mentioned that our values come from home and that it is not really required. In a nation of more than a billion people, conscription is not essential since there are always plenty of people volunteering. Theoretically and on papers as per the declarations India stands second in the world after China, in terms of Defence forces strength including reserved force strengths. This in itself is sufficient. In this era of globalization, every country is trying to increase their influence on the world.
Recently we have witnessed many episodes wherein the abled countries contributed in social or economical destruction of the smaller or weaker countries. So, increasing – the strength of defence mechanism is one of the important tool to protect our country from external interferences. The Agneepath scheme can play a vital role in increasing the strength of the Indian Defence Professionalism and also the strength of reserved defence professional upto the level, wherein no other country in the world will be able to have even half of the strength of Indian Armed Forces, therefore the conscription is beyond our imagination.
The Future of Agniveers After the Completion of the Programme:
1) UGC will seek to ensure that recruits from the Agnipath scheme are recognised for their talents so that such skills can be taken into account when they enrol in a graduating programme.
2) It is anticipated that the Indian Armed Forces are to recruit 46,000 candidates of becoming Agniveers with a salary of Rs. 30,000/- to Rs. 40,000/- per month. By the end of the 4-year programme, 25% of the magnifier recruiters will be absorbed into the armed forces. The remaining Agniveers will have to take the mandatory retirement with 11-12 lakh pension in one lap.
3) And this is just not the end, the Home and Defence ministries, the Ministry of Ports, The Ministry of Civil Aviation, and The National Institute of Open Schooling have decided to absorb 10% of Agniveers into their respective ministries. The Union Ministry of Education has decided to introduce a three-year special technical education course at the undergraduate level for Agniveers. Chief Ministers like Yogi Adityanath (Uttar Pradesh), Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh), Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma (Assam), Basavaraj Somappa Bommai (Karnataka) and others have stated to give priority to Agniveers first into the State Police Recruitment after the completion of their 4 years programme.
4) This does not end with just government representatives, Private Industrialists like Harsh Goenka of the RPG Group, and Anand Mahindra of the Mahindra Group wholeheartedly welcomed the opportunity to enrol the Agniveers and encourage other corporate conglomerates to ensure a better future for our Agniveers.
How Agneepath Scheme is a boon for the young citizen of the Northeast?
Northeast India is one of the most diverse regions of the country. However, it is prone to invaders and attackers at the time since they share many international borders. Young citizens can take part in the programme and gain the necessary skills to protect their country even after graduation. With the kind of pedagogy that is derived from the scheme, each individual has something or more to offer in the form of Skill Development. Since the UGC has already begun working on credit transfers, entering into any relevant programmes to complete professional graduation for a better future is nothing but ease. One can start their lives just like any other civilian without having to worry about the future.
Arunachal University of Studies has its doors open for all the great Agniveers to come and study at the Namsai, campus. Ever since the implementation of the Agniveer scheme was made, the Board of Governors already had started formulating Agniveer Scholarship Programmes for recruits to learn the course they wish to study with AUS. I am sure educationalists around the country are of the same belief and are working on making the lives of our Agniveers better.
Lastly, I would sincerely like to thank the Government of India for making a path for everyone to be a part of this scheme. Helping every citizen of this country grow holistically is what we always vouched for, and the Modi Sarkar is here to deliver us that. Agneepath is a brilliant move and I give my full support for its promotion and implementation.