Protests against Centre’s Agnipath scheme rock several states; trains, public property vandalised

Protests against Centre's Agnipath scheme rock several states; trains, public property vandalised

Protests are going on against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme — a radical recruitment plan for the armed forces.

The agitation turned violent on Thursday as Army aspirants disrupted rail and road traffic in several parts of Bihar for the second consecutive day.

Among other vandalism acts, trains were set afire, rail and road traffic disrupted, window panes of buses smashed, and stone pelting by angry youth. They have been demanding the withdrawal of the new short-term recruitment scheme ‘Agnipath‘.

Violent protests have already spread to multiple states across the country. Haryana and UP also reported violent protests.

In order to avert any major consequences, phone internet and SMS services were suspended for 24 hours in Palwal district of Haryana.

Agnipath Scheme

This came after the incidents of stone-pelting and violence by Army aspirants. Police had to resort to aerial firing after a mob attacked them and set their vehicles on fire.

The new Agnipath tour of duty scheme proposes the recruitment of jawans on a contractual basis for a four-year period.

Also, there will be compulsory retirement for most without gratuity and pension benefits. The new recruitment plan also aims to cut down the government’s massive salary and pension bills and free up funds for arms procurement.

Under the Agnipath scheme, about 45,000 people between the age of 17.5 years and 21 years will be inducted into the services for a four-year term.

During this tenure, they will be paid a monthly salary between Rs 30,000-40,000 plus allowances. They will also be entitled to medical and insurance benefits.

After four years, only 25 per cent of these soldiers will be retained; they will go on to serve for a full 15 years in non-officer ranks.

While the remaining will exit the services with a package between Rs 11 lakh – ₹ 12 lakh, but won’t be eligible for pension benefits.

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