An Overlook into the Agnipath Scheme
- Massive protests demanding the rollback of the Agnipath scheme has continued across the country.
- Hundreds of people have been injured in various places in the violence that marked the agitation against the new armed forces recruitment scheme.
- India faces threat from two adversaries mainly China and Pakistan and other threats internally in Kashmir and the northeastern States.
- So, there has always been an idea of modernisation of the armed forces and increase defence spending.
- In the recent budget, the allocation for salaries and pensions accounted for 54% of the total budget.
- This trend has remained consistently from decades In the current financial year, ₹1,19,696 crore has been budgeted for pensions, along with another ₹1,63,453 crore for salaries.
- The argument is that, the savings in the pensions will encourage more spending on modernisation of the defence forces.
- It is estimated that Indian Air Force requires 42 squadrons of fighter jets but currently the there are only 30 squadrons.
- This is also similar in the case of Indian navy which requires upto 200 warships currently has 130 and the army is also short of 1,00,000 soldiers.
- So, it is clear that the introduction of Agniveer scheme is to tackle the economic hurdles in the defence sector.
Social and Political Challenges:
- To prevent the domination of a particular group based on state, linguistic community or ethnicity, the army had an idea of a State-wise quota for recruitment.
- It was based on the idea on the Recruitable Male Population of that State which was implemented from 1966.
- So, there is an apprehension that introduction of Agniveer scheme, this idea of state wise representation will wane.
- According many researches ethnic imbalance in the armed forces will increase the chance of civil wars and can be a threat to democracy.
- As this is new to the armed forces, the exact consequences of short term recruiting is still not known.
- But there are apprehensions that it will hamper the professional capabilities of the armed forces.
- The government has to handle the high turnout of young soldiers and invest heavily on their training and increase the administrative setup.
- The Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy employ their airmen and sailors in very specialised roles, which require technical skills, and a high degree of training and experience.
- They form the backbone of the system that keeps the warships at sea, the fighter jets in the air, and high-tech weapons and platforms operational.
- Because the short-term contractual soldier model (the Agniveer scheme) is going to take a few years to fully play out at an organisational level, the actual degradation of operational capability will only be known then.
Source The Hindu