Government unveils sweeping changes to soldier recruitment

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“The Agnipath Recruitment Program is a transformative initiative that will provide a youthful profile to the Armed Forces,” Singh said.

Revolutionary changes to the recruiting process will see soldiers inducted initially for a period of four years and some of them retained.

“Under the Agnipath scheme, young Indians will have the opportunity to serve in the armed forces as ‘Agniveer’,” the defense minister said.

Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar said the program will ensure a wider talent pool for recruitment into the armed forces.

The “Agnipath” program, previously called “Tour of Duty”, was launched in the presence of the heads of the three services.

The new regime was announced after much deliberation over the past two years.

The soldiers to be recruited under this program will be called “Agniveer”.

Currently, the military recruits youth under the Short Service Commission for an initial term of 10 years, which can be extended up to 14 years.

The scheme aims to significantly reduce the rapidly rising payroll and pension costs of the three services.

The defense budget of Rs 5,25,166 crore for 2022-2023 included Rs 1,19,696 crore for defense pensions.

The allowance for revenue expenditure was Rs 2,33,000 crore. Revenue expenditure includes expenditure relating to the payment of salaries and the upkeep of establishments.

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