14 Dec 2022 1:21 PM GMT
Defending its Agnipath scheme for recruitment in the armed forces, the Central Government on Wednesday told Delhi High Court that the decision to introduce the scheme was not taken lightly and that a lot of study has gone into the policy. Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati told a division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad that the Ministry...
Defending its Agnipath scheme for recruitment in the armed forces, the Central Government on Wednesday told Delhi High Court that the decision to introduce the scheme was not taken lightly and that a lot of study has gone into the policy.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati told a division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad that the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship is presently working on skill-mapping of the Agniveers.
"It (Agnipath Scheme) is not a decision which was taken lightly. The Union of India was mindful and cognizant….Indian Armed forces is amongst the most professional," Bhati told court, adding that the policy has been framed based on suggestions from experts belonging to the armed forces.
The court is hearing a batch of pleas challenging its Agnipath Scheme and seeking resumption and enrolment as per previous recruitment scheme in defence services.
Bhati told court that the government is aspiring to reduce the average age profile over a period of time.
Stating that the consultation is an ongoing process, Bhati further said that the scheme has been tailor made after a detailed study, which fulfils the need of the nation.
"Women are being taken. This is a very comprehensive effort undertaken by the Union of India," Bhati said, adding that the government has also introduced education oriented provisions in the policy.
Bhati said a class VIII and Class X pass out will be treated as having passed 10th and 12th standard, respectively, on completion of the training.
For a person who joins after completing 12th standard, Bhati said that such an individual will get 50% credit with Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
"We are in consultation and have been able to achieve a lot. Some of the notifications are issued. There are many trades that Agniveers may be included in. The Ministry of Skill Development is coming up with skill mapping of Agniveers," Bhati said.
She added: "We're working on it. It has not been finalized yet….we've mapped it. It is yet to be approved."
Bhati further said that in case any operational issues arise, the same will be ironed out as the interest of the government is to have armed forces at the highest pedestal.
Bhati also said that the Agniveer cadre is separate from the regular cadre of Indian armed forces, adding that its terms and conditions as well as the responsibilities are also different.
Earlier, Centre in its affidavit had submitted that the objective of the scheme is to have a young combat force which is physically and mentally capable of taking the new challenges anticipated by experts.
Based on detailed deliberations over an extended period of time with all stakeholders, the Centre had said, a model comprising a well experienced permanent cadre with niche operational and technical skills "supported by a youthful and a well-equipped support cadre comprising dynamic rank and file" was envisaged.
On the aspect of four years duration of Agniveer recruits service, the Centre had said that the said duration of training has been optimised to meet the organisational requirement.
The government also said that adequate incentive has been provided to existing personnel to fulfil their aspirations outside the Armed Forces as part of the society.
Explaining the Agnipath scheme, it was submitted that all recruitment into Armed Forces will be conducted only through Agnipath Scheme, utilising contemporary technology, practices and systems to select the most capable youth for a period of four years.