By Linus Garg
First publised on 2022-06-17 05:50:34
Asking the question what they will do after four years when they will be released from the armed forces after serving a short service commission under the Agnipath scheme, angry youngsters across several states took to the streets to protest against the scheme. The government raised the age limit to 23 years (from the earlier 21 years) and said that it will increase the intake. But the youth is worried about their future prospects as someone entering under the scheme at 17.5 years and released at the age of 22 after serving for four years will stare at a period of uncertainty in the prime of life. Granted that the government will be paying a good lump sum amount on termination and has also promised to help with a bank loan on easy terms to set them up in life, but obviously the youngsters are not convinced whether that would be enough to allow them to be gainfully employed and live a life of dignity after being released from the forces.
This is one of the biggest drawbacks of the scheme. But short service commission is increasingly becoming the rule across the globe as military warfare tactics have changed and an oversized military is neither required nor feasible. The government has primarily introduced this scheme to reduce the pension burden which eats up nearly half of the defence budget. It should now apply its mind as to how the nearly 30000 to 40000 youngsters who will be released from the armed forces every year after four years can be employed in other sectors. For, it is clear that apart from their training in the military, these youngsters will not have the skill sets to get them employment. With that training, they are only likely to get placed in private security services or be self-employed with the lump sum payment they will receive from the government on discharge. Worse, with their training in arms, they can be used for nefarious activities like criminal gangs and caste armies. The government has to look into the matter and address the concern of these youngsters.