Issue Brief on “Analyzing the Agnipath model of Indian army’s modernization program”

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The Agnipath model, introduced by Modi government on June 14, 2022[1] with the proclaimed intention of inducing efficiency in the personnel pay and pensions, is a subject of intense debate and conflict among different sections of Indian society. The project on one hand is being lauded as a novel project that aims at reducing soldiers’ average age and expenditures to make financial space for defense equipment procurement. On the other hand, the fears of financial insecurities of the scheme among the army personnel and its demoralization effect on the army, the apprehensions of this scheme developing an inexperienced army, dissatisfaction among aspirants for the army, and a host of other problems have led to a massive uproar throughout the country.[2]

The agnipath scheme is a government scheme for the induction of recruits i.e.

Agniveers (fire-brave)[3]  in its army, navy, and air force branches of the military. According to this scheme, citizens of India aged 17.5-21 years of age could apply for the army. However, following massive protests that erupted across India against the scheme, the age limit for this year has been relaxed for 2 years, increasing the upper age limit to 23 years.[4] The cadres inducted through this scheme would serve for 4 years, including 6 months of training, and retire after that period without any pension or allowances. Nonetheless, they will receive a one-time payment of around 11.7 lac Indian rupees. There would also be a chance for the cadres joining the permanent ranks of army but they would not account for more than 25% of the total batch strength. One induction batch would consist of 45000-50000 individuals and there would be two batches of induction during a given year[5]

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