India – Controversial Defense Recruitment Policy

June 23, 2022

India – Controversial Defense Recruitment Policy

Padmini Arhant

The hard fact Agnipath policy introduced by Indian PM Narendra Modi with emphasis on youthfulness, clean record and meritocracy were to be applied to political career in entirety especially ethics and merit – none qualify considering the tarnished record and criminal legacy beginning with India’s Prime Minister, Home Minister, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and the rest of the cadre in the central and state government. The unfortunate trend is the irony in the laws and policy introduced against civil society and now targeting the national defense force.

Importantly, term limit like four years in Agnipath policy, the Prime Minister terms should be no more than 2 without exception. Above all Indian democracy would be real and effective with the citizens’ right to recall head of the nation viz. Prime Minister, Home Minister, Finance Minister, Defense Minister, External Affairs among many others at the center, state and all the way to the municipal level on dismal performance and abysmal economic, political and social environment. No delivery on economy in controlling inflation, creating employment, job growth, access to public utilities like electricity, clean water and basic needs… no right to power for those in politics

Indian democracy has long been subverted with political representation committed and dedicated to individual, private and fiduciary interests alone.

The young defense force aspirant – one of many whose dreams have been shattered with the controversial Agnipath meaning fire path literally setting the economically devastated youth population aspirations ablaze in Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Chattisgarh, Assam states in the north and northeastern region. These defense force applicants deserve attention and recruitment in the Indian military as they would be invaluable assets.

Regardless of New Delhi government propaganda highlighting the benefits of provocative policy – Agnipath has one too many flaws and far reaching ill consequences that are best averted with the withdrawal of the government unilateral policy. 

First and foremost – the Agnipath (Fire Path) is aimed at 17 1/2 – 21 years of age – the life time when critical education is pursued for high school certificate and under graduate course with a degree enabling the career onset in work force. 

The Agnipath enrollees would have to either differ their education if any of them were interested and considered the high school diploma and undergraduate degree important which majority would desire and do if the same were to be affordable. 

Alternatively, the Agnipath policy apparently has the option for the potential recruits to study at their expense after duty and training hours which obviously may not be suitable or possible for all of them. 

The above two scenarios on scholastic achievements are challenging for the young recruits given the tough competition as only 25% among the 100% initial recruits are expected to be selected and that 25% is also supposedly on need basis. They are placed in a dilemma to study for high school exam and later the undergraduate course while competing for selection among 25%. 

Many defense force applicants in India are predominantly from the rural areas of the country as farmers’ sons and daughters or those from very poor economic background unable to complete high school and further college education. 

Again the difficulty seeking high school and college education for this demography is directly linked to economic costs more than aptitude. However, the Agnipath policy presume the latter as the issue and trying to entice the rural youth mass as such citing monthly payments as salary and discharge package after four years upon not being selected to serve long term in the defense force. 

Accordingly, the youth from these segments join the defense force similar to the United States where many unable to afford college education enlist in the military and earn their educational qualifications paid for by the United States defense force besides appointment in the respective armed services such as Army, Navy and Air Force. 

Second, the Indian government’s hostile decision to deprive servicemen and women in military uniform the essential benefits like pension and medical care is attributed to defense budget reallocation to capital expenditure on modernization.
In this context, the approach on military personnel displacement with modern hardware and equipment is gross miscalculation. The new wave military operation cannot entirely function on auto pilot, although the latter also require maintenance and trouble shooting technical glitches by human man power.

Despite the hype and discussion on machine replacing human involvement, the machinery functionality and fine tuning are dependent on human monitoring and skills in relevant technology. The software and hardware at the end of the day are developed and manufactured by human mind and physical labor through computer programming, physics and engineering science.

The concept trimming military recruitment for renovation is a major misstep with inevitable adverse ramifications synonymous to demonetization debacle that led to many ordinary citizens’ deaths in 2016 and robbed livelihoods of the mainstream population paying the price until today.

The military modernization is necessary upgrading to contemporary innovative technology. However, the funding could be easily afforded by slashing wasteful spending on politicians’ undeserving privileges and lifetime emoluments. Notwithstanding the lavish expenditure on elaborate Prime Minister residence viz. Central Vista and new Parliament House…at ordinary taxpayers, foot soldiers, farmers, informal and formal sectors lower and middle income workers’ expense.

The Indian Central government in New Delhi promise on job reservation to 75% unsuccessful recruits in Agnipath policy is not taken seriously by youthful aspirants and believed to be a hoax for good reasons.

There are too many incidents beginning with Rs.15 lakhs i.e. 1.5 million rupees in every Indian citizen’s account was guaranteed during demonetization by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016. Six years later in 2022, there is no sign of any amount let alone Rs. 15 lakhs i.e. 1.5 million rupees in any ordinary citizens’ account till date.

In 2019 national election, the former serviceman Tej Bahadur Yadav from Haryana having served in the army in Siachin border in the Himalayan region for over 25 years was denied civil service. The former military personnel Tej Bahadur Yadav ran for public  office against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi in 2019. The ex-serviceman Tej Bahadur Yadav was mercilessly disqualified from competing in the national election. Without any proof or explanation Tej Bahadur Yadav was deprived from the election in 2019.

The reality is the constituency Varanasi was prepared to vote for Tej Bahadur Yadav against Narendra Modi in 2019 and PM Narendra Modi’s defeat was certain in the public poll. Then immediately the former army personnel Tej Bahadur Yadav was informed of discrepancy in election papers filing which was previously confirmed by election officials as proper and valid.

The direct involvement by PM Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath made sure the ex-serviceman Tej Bahadur Yadav is prevented from participating in the general election in 2019 proving the lack of respect and opportunity for military personnel in public civil  service among the high ranked public office.

Padmini Arhant

Author & Presenter


Got something to say?

You must be logged in to post a comment.