‘Armed Forces Need To Make Most Of India’s Demographic Dividend’


New Delhi: The three services of the military on Tuesday again asserted that the scheme was aimed at bringing down the age profile of the armed forces.

“Aginpath scheme balances three things, first youthful profile of the armed forces, technical savvy and adaptable people joining the Army, third makes the individual future-ready,” Lt Gen Anil Puri, Addt’l Secy, Dept of Military Affairs, said during a press conference here.

“With Agnipath, we g ive the country’s youth a chance of deshbhakti (patriotism),” he said. No other country in the world has the demographic dividend as that of India, the officer said. “50% of our youth is under the age group of 25 years. The army should make the most of it. We have to be reflective of this demographic dividend,” Lt Gen Puri said.

Amid misgivings about the recruitment process, the additional secretary asserted that the recruitment process will remain unchanged and the traditional regimentation system in the military will continue. The scheme, which envisages a four-year term for 75 per cent of recruits, was an outcome of a long period of consultation within the three services and the Ministry of Defence besides deliberation among several wings of the government. “It is a much-needed reform,” he said.

Various committees since 1989 had made recommendations on these lines, he said, adding that all stakeholders were involved in finalising the Agnipath scheme. With youths at several places resorting to violence to protest the scheme, Puri said all applicants for ‘Agnipath’ will have to give an undertaking that they were not part of any violence.”There is no place for arson and violence in the armed forces,” he said. Referring to police verification, he noted that it has always been a part of the recruitment process.

Over the years, the profile of commanding officers in the military has become younger. Now, the profile of soldiers will become youthful, he said. Backing the scheme, an official said ‘Agnipath’ will not dent but improve the army’s combat capabilities.

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