Agnipath Recruitment: 20% women Agniveers to be inducted by Indian Navy

Around 20 percent of women 'Agniveers' are set to be inducted by Indian Navy, officials said (File)
Around 20 percent of women 'Agniveers' are set to be inducted by Indian Navy, officials said (File)

New Delhi: Around 20 percent of the Agniveers to be inducted by the Indian Navy this year will be women, Navy officials said on Tuesday. The Navy plans to recruit about 3,000 personnel this year under the 'Agnipath' recruitment scheme and has started the registration process for the aspirants on July 1. The Navy will recruit women sailors for the first time through the new scheme.

"Twenty percent of the naval Agniveers will be women subject to their meeting required criteria," said a senior Navy official. The Navy has already announced that the application window would be available from July 15 to 30 and examination and physical fitness tests would be held in mid-October. It said the first batch of recruits will join the training programme at INS Chilka in Odisha by November 21. Last month, the government announced the Agnipath scheme, under which youths between the ages of 17-and-a-half and 21 years would be inducted into the armed forces for a four-year tenure, while 25 percent of them will be subsequently inducted for regular service.

The scheme, especially its feature that 75 percent of the recruits will serve only for four years and will not enjoy benefits like regular soldiers, has sparked protests in different parts of the country amid hectic efforts by the government to assuage the youth's concerns. Amid the protests, the central government clarified the scheme will be implemented and there is no question of a rollback. The upper age limit was raised to 23 years, with some government departments announcing priority for Agniveers in jobs.

Those hired under the 'Agnipath' scheme will be given a one-time lump sum of a little more than Rs 11 lakh when they end their four-year tenure. However, they do not receive any pension benefits. For most, seeking a second job is essential to support themselves and their families. The government has announced several measures to support the 'Agniveers' after their four-year service in the armed forces under the Agnipath scheme. The opposition has pressed for the immediate withdrawal of the recruitment plan. The Supreme Court is likely to hear next week the pleas challenging the 'Agnipath' scheme.

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