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Bihar Dy CM Lauds 'ambitious' Agnipath Scheme; Refutes Claims Of Rift Between BJP And JDU

Bihar Dy CM Tarkishore Prasad spoke to Republic and said that Agnipath is an ambitious scheme by the Centre & urged those opposing it to understand its facets.

Image: Republic/PTI

Amid the violent protests over the Agnipath military recruitment scheme, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishore Prasad, on Monday, claimed that this is an ambitious scheme introduced by the Central government. In an exclusive conversation with Republic TV, Prasad said the security has been beefed up and the situation in the state is under control. He accused a few political parties of instigating the youth for their personal political agenda. Deputy CM Tarkishore also refuted claims of a rift between the BJP and JDU. 

"Initially, all of this happened all of a sudden and I think the agitation was beyond our estimation. The government took action against the rioters and because of that only the security has been beefed up across the states. There was a delay in understanding the situation. We have arrested around 800 people who were involved in violent protests and FIR has been registered against 100 people. After that day no such incident took place. Everything is normal to date despite the call for Bharat Bandh. The situation is under control now," he said.

On being asked about the reported rift between the BJP & JDU and its Bihar state unit president Sanjay Jaiswal's accusations, Prasad said, "Jaiswal's comment was limited to the cities where the attack took place, he was not talking about the whole Bihar. The way BJP headquarters were targeted and attacked, being the head of the party in the state he expressed his concerns. Our NDA alliance tried its best to maintain the security situation. I have personally appealed to all the JDU leaders that they should refrain from making such inappropriate statements as we have come together for bigger responsibilities and purposes to fulfill a common goal."

Talking about the Agnipath scheme, the Bihar Deputy CM said, "Agnipath Scheme is an ambitious programme initiated by the Ministry of Defence, Government of India. The three chiefs of our Army have jointly discussed it in detail and have agreed.  As far as opposing is concerned, it is done by those people who do not have any issue. There are some political parties in Bihar who do not have any issues of their own, they are instigating the youth and due to this such situation has been witnessed in the country today. But the people of Bihar understand and will give a proper answer in due time."

Responding to RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav's June 22 protest march against the Agnipath scheme, Bihar Deputy CM said "it's fine as this is a political agenda for them. I think Yadav is not aware of the scheme, he needs to understand the details thoroughly".

Features of Agnipath scheme

Agnipath is a pan-India short-term service youth recruitment scheme for the Armed Forces launched to reduce the average age of the Indian Army. Those inducted into the service will be called 'Agniveers' and will be employed for four years where rigorous military training will be imparted to them. The age group for eligibility under the scheme is 17.5 to 21 years (23 years, as a one-off exception for the year 2022). The starting annual package will be Rs 4.76 lakh, which can be increased to 6.92 lakh by the end of the service. 

Soldiers aspiring to be entrepreneurs will receive a financial package and bank loan scheme after serving in the armed forces for four years. Those desiring to pursue higher education will be given a certificate equivalent to the Class 12 certificate and a bridging course and the ones who wish to obtain jobs will be given priority in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and the state police. Several avenues will also be opened for them in other sectors.

Security was beefed up in several states on Monday amid the call of "Bharat Bandh" given by some organisations who are protesting against the Agnipath scheme of recruitment for defence services. However, as things stand, normal business is being carried out as a tight vigil continues in the wake of the bandh call. In the wake of this call of Bharat Bandh and several incidents of violent protests against the Agnipath scheme, several states including Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Jharkhand have tightened up their security.

(Image: Republic/PTI)

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