Why Indians and job aspirants are protesting against the new Agni path scheme of government of India?

Protests over the new defense recruitment path broke out in many locations two days after the government launched its Agnipath system for hiring soldiers across the three services, with hopefuls citing job security and post-service benefits as their main concerns.

Why Indians and job aspirants are protesting against the new Agni path scheme of government of India?

Why are job seekers so upset?

Two significant points raised by demonstrators are pension and job security. The previous system saw soldiers enlisting for a term of 17 years, which might be extended for certain personnel, and it resulted in a pension that was paid for life.

The Agniveers will not be eligible for pension benefits under the new scheme, which calls for a four-year term for the majority of employees.

Mohan Kumar, a protesting student from Bihar’s Chhapra, said: “This Agnipath scheme is just a placebo being given to unemployed youth. Even parents would now think twice before sending their sons to the Army just for four years.”

SK Jha, who runs a coaching center for competitive examinations in Bihar, said: “Just imagine getting retired just after four years. It is nothing but playing with their emotions in the name of giving them some skills before they retire. Students want the old system back.”

The two-year ban on Army enlistment brought on by the epidemic is also adding to the rage. Several applicants who turned 18 in the last two years are now asking for an age relaxation even though the Agnipath scheme’s recruiting process won’t start for 90 days.

One of the shouts used on Wednesday when protests in Bihar got underway was “Bharti do, ya arthi do.”

According to Jha, up till two years ago, the Army and other defense forces had roughly 60,000 openings.

“There has been no recruitment for the last two years, and now the short-duration of service on offer has angered the students….There are examples when students prepare for such exams for four years. Are they working hard to get a job just for four years and remain unsure about what they would do next”, said Jha.

Jitender Bhadawar, a 23-year-old from Barwala, Haryana, who missed out on the opportunity to enlist in the military since he is now of age, said: “They have changed all the rules….Earlier, boys would prepare for five years in advance to join the Army. Why will they now do so for only four years of service? Virodh aur gussa hai (There is opposition and anger to it) and youngsters are sharing messages on social media platforms for a boycott.”

The Agnipath plan also envisions a recruitment process that is “all India, all class.”

Concerns have been raised about how the new recruits will be integrated into the current system, where the majority of Army formations are based on region, caste, or class.

Where are the riots taking place?

On Wednesday, protests erupted in the Bihar cities of Buxar and Muzaffarpur. Protests have recently moved to Jammu, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, and a number of other regions of Bihar.

Protesters almost besieged bus stops and roadways in Haryana, stifling travel on the Gurugram-Jaipur expressway.

Angry applicants in Bihar barricaded rail lines, vandalised rail equipment, and tossed burning tyres across highways. On Thursday, Jahanabad, Buxar, Muzaffarabad, Bhojpur, Saran, Munger, Nawada, and Kaimur also reported protests. Aruna Devi, a BJP MLA for Warsaliganj, had her car damaged as well. She made it out safely.

At the Gwalior train station, a mob of 1,000 people damaged property, leading the police to use lathicharge.