NEW DELHI: Former Union minister and RJD leader Sharad Yadav on Friday said the ‘Agnipath’ scheme is not a reform but an “attempt to damage” the existing system of recruitment in the armed forces and demanded that the Centre should “revisit” the initiative.
Yadav also expressed concern that after a four-year stint as a soldier, there are more chances of “misuse of the skill” acquired after coming out of the armed forces.
His remarks come amid nationwide protests over the scheme, with trains set afire, public and police vehicles attacked and personnel injured.
“In my opinion, it is not a reform but it is an attempt to damage even the existing system of recruitment in the armed forces,” Yadav said in a statement.
“I do not agree that a young person having served for four years in the Army will get any respectable job except working as security guard in some private security agency,” he said.
He said the skill they would get in the Army will have any use working in any private company.
“There are more chances of misuse of the skill than the use after coming out of the armed forces,” Yadav said in the statement.
“As I heard from many ex-Army personnel that a combat soldier cannot be trained in four years, and the scheme thus compromises national security. I absolutely agree with this argument,” Yadav said.
Is it possible to groom a soldier as a missile pilot, a tank and artillery gunner, a machine gunner, a vehicle driver, or even a scout who moves ahead of an infantry section in the remaining period and then lose him, he asked.
Retrenching youth from the armed forces after four years will create security problems, Yadav argued.
“I have no doubt in my mind that these Agniveers after getting out of the Armed forces, when not getting respectable jobs, may fall prey to the lure of crime syndicates and other illicit activities,” he said.
“Compromising” security of the country for saving in Defence expenditure is not a wise step for country like ours, he said.
“I would like to impress upon the government and suggest that this Agnipath scheme requires deep consultation and therefore the scheme needs to be revisited so that not only the youth of the country is reassured that the government of the day is concerned about them but also security of the country is remains a priority,” the RJD leader said.
Protests have erupted in several states since Wednesday against the Agnipath scheme to recruit jawans into the army, the navy and the air force for a four-year-period followed by compulsory retirement for most without gratuity and pension benefits.