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Kharge writes to President Murmu on 'many well-known issues' with Agnipath scheme

New Delhi: Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday appealed to President Droupadi Murmu to ensure that 'Nyay and justice' is done to youth aspiring to join the forces with regard to the Agnipath scheme.
Kharge claimed that due to the ending of the regular recruitment process and 'imposing' the Agnipath Scheme for the Armed Forces, the Centre has put the future of almost two lakh young men and women in uncertainty.
In his letter addressed to the President, Kharge said, "Recently, I met them and they told me that between 2019 and 2022, almost two lakh young men and women were informed that they had been accepted into the three armed services: the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force. These young men and women had struggled against all odds to pass gruelling mental and physical tests and a written exam."
"Until May 31, 2022, they believed that they had fulfilled their dreams and were awaiting only their joining letters. On that day, their dreams were shattered by the Government of India's decision to end this recruitment process and replace it with the Agnipath Scheme," he said.
He claimed that there are 'many well-known issues' with the Agnipath scheme.
"There are many well-known issues with the Agnipath Scheme. Former Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane has written that the Army was "taken by surprise" by Agnipath and that "for the Navy and Air Force, it came like a bolt from the blue," as the letter mentioned.
He further called the scheme 'discriminatory' among Jawans.
"Furthermore, the scheme is discriminatory among our jawans by creating parallel cadres of soldiers who are expected to work on similar tasks, but with very different emoluments, benefits, and prospects. The majority of Agniveers will be released into an uncertain job market after four years of service, which some have argued could affect social stability," the letter stated.
The Congress chief further claimed that the uncertainty in the process has resulted in many youths ending their lives due to 'frustration'.
"Not only did they spend years in pursuit of this dream, but the 250 each of 50 lakh applicants had to pay to collect and the application form was never refunded, which amounts to a hefty 125 crore taken from these youngsters. The resulting frustration and hopelessness have even led to several reported deaths by suicide," Kharge said.
"Our youth cannot be allowed to suffer in this manner. I appeal to you to ensure that NYAY and justice is done," he added.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi also shared Kharge's letter in a post on X, extending support to the 'military candidates'.
"We are with them in the fight for justice for the military candidates who are full of patriotism and bravery," Gandhi said in the post.
"Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge's letter written to the President regarding the 2 lakh youth who were selected in the armed forces even after hard penance and were not appointed and the Agniveer Yojana," he said in the post along with Kharge's letter.
Earlier this month, Congress MP Manickam Tagore gave an adjournment motion notice in the Lok Sabha seeking a discussion on the appointment of 1.5 lakh youth selected for the defence forces between 2019 and 2022.
Tagore said that the delay in their appointment has led to distress, and the deadlock should be resolved immediately.
Tagore also sought the reinstatement of the "old recruitment system," as it was more effective than the newly launched Agnitpath scheme.
Agnipath Yojana is a recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the Armed Forces. The scheme is called Agnipath and the youth selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers.
According to a government release, under the scheme, the Agniveers will be enrolled in the Forces under the respective Service Acts for a period of four years. They would form a distinct rank in the Armed Forces, different from any other existing ranks.
Upon the completion of four years of service, based on organisational requirements and policies promulgated by the Armed Forces from time to time, Agniveers will be offered an opportunity to apply for permanent enrolment in the Armed Forces.
Up to 25 per cent of each specific batch of Agniveers will be enrolled in a regular cadre of the Armed Forces, the release stated.

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