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Six para forces may recruit 2,184 ex-Agniveers every year

At least 2,184 ex-Agniveers could be recruited each year under the 10% quota announced by the government in six paramilitary forces according to an analysis of recruitments over the past five years to these units. An ex-Agniveer , after completion of the mandatory four-year service is likely to have more chances of landing a job in the Border Security Force and Central Reserve Police Force compared to the others. The six forces analysed were Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sahastra Seema Bal, and Assam Rifles.

Agniveer women personnel undergo a training session at Corps of Military Police in Bengaluru. (PTI)

To be sure, the number could be higher if more people are hired for these forces. Last month, the government made one such announcement about the setting up of six new ITBP battalions comprising 9,400 personnel.

Over the past five years, a total of 109,234 personnel were recruited across the six forces –an average of around 21,847 recruits a year. At 10% reservation for former Agniveers, this translates into 2,185 candidates , 611 to BSF, 545 to CISF, 353 to CRPF, 347 to SSB, 177 to ARs and 151 to ITBP.

On June 14, 2022, India announced the Agnipath scheme for short-term induction of soldiers into the three services, the Army, Navy and Indian Air Force, replacing the legacy system of hiring, with an eye on lowering the age profile of the armed forces, ensuring a fitter military, and creating a technically skilled war fighting force capable of meeting future challenges. Cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security, the programme seeks to recruit soldiers, including women, for only four years with a provision to retain 25% of them in the regular cadre for 15 more years after another round of screening. Recruits under the Agnipath scheme will be called Agniveers and they will be in the age group of 17-and-a-half and 21 years.

Amid protests against the short-term recruitment plan across the country, the government later announced 10% reservation for ex-Agniveers, who have completed four years in service, in Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPFs) and Assam Rifles. This is in addition to 25% Agniveers who will be retained after another round of screening.

At least 5.4 million candidates registered for the 46,000 jobs in the three services in the first phase (40,000 in the army and 3,000 each in the Indian Air Force and navy) of recruitment under the scheme, according to defence ministry data.

The government has already brought in changes to the services rules of BSF and CISF to effect the quota. Apart from the reservation, the government has also amended the rules related to the age and exempted Agniveers from the physical efficiency test. According to the government’s notification, the upper age limit shall be relaxable up to five years for the candidates of the first batch of ex-Agniveers while for the subsequent batches of ex-Agniveers, the upper age limit will be relaxable by up to three years.

A candidate must be between 18-23 years of age, passed matriculation and the physical test to be eligible for recruitment as a constable in CAPFs.

Retired IPS officer, Prakash Singh, who served as the director general of BSF, and the Uttar Pradesh and Assam, police said the force will benefit from recruiting trained soldiers when the recruit former Agniveers. “The soldiers will be experts in weapons and tactics so inducting them will be beneficial. For a force like BSF, the job description will be almost similar. Also given the vacancies in our paramilitary forces, the trained soldiers will get enough opportunities.”

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