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Updated December 18th, 2023 at 17:17 IST

Army chief Gen Naravane reveals how the Agnipath scheme came to be in his upcoming memoir

Army Chief, Gen MM Naravane's memoir 'Four Stars of Destiny' is releasing in January 2024 with new details about the formulation of Agnipath scheme.

Digital Desk
Gen MM Naravane
Gen MM Naravane | Image:PTI
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Former Army Chief, Gen MM Naravane will soon be releasing his memoir 'Four Stars of Destiny' in which he revealed new information on what went behind formulating the Agnipath scheme. 

The scheme was rolled out by the government in June 2022 for short-term induction of personnel with an aim to bring down the age profile of the three services of the Indian military. While it faced intense protests, they soon fizzled out. 

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Here is how the Agnipath scheme came to be

Gen Naravane, who served as the 28th Army Chief from December 31, 2019, to April 30, 2022, revealed in his memoir that various models of the scheme were deliberated upon. He said that the Army's initial view was that 75 per cent of the personnel to be recruited could be retained while 25 per cent should be released. 

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Notably, the Agnipath scheme provides four years of service for recruiting youths between the age bracket of 17-and-half years and 21 with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 more years.

In his book, which is due for release in January 2024, Naravane disclosed that the first year's starting salary for the new recruits was initially kept at just Rs 20,000 per month which, according to the Former Army Chief was “not acceptable.” 

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"This was just not acceptable. Here, we were talking about a trained soldier, who was expected to lay down his life for the country. Surely a soldier could not be compared with a daily wage labourer. Based on our very strong recommendations, this was later raised to Rs 30,000 per month," he says.

He also revealed that the ‘Tour of Duty’ scheme he proposed before the government came as a shock since the government wanted to apply it to all three services and not just the army. 

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"Having become a tri-service matter, it now fell on the CDS, Gen Bipin Rawat, to take the proposal forward, albeit with the Army remaining the lead service. We in the Army were taken by surprise by this turn of events, but for the Navy and Air Force, it came like a bolt from the blue," he says.

Moreover, the Department of Military Affairs opined that the retention and release ration should be 50-50 instead of 75-25 and the term should be of four years, revealed Gen Naravane. 

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After deliberating upon the practicality of the recruitment process with training and deployment in consideration, including the time required to impart the technical skills in Air Force, a one-step retention after four years of service was finalised. 

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Published December 18th, 2023 at 17:17 IST

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