Haryana Congress on Monday held protests at various places in the state against thescheme, with the Leader of Opposition, Bhupinder Singh Hooda leading the charge at Rohtak.
Hooda, a former CM of the state, during the day’s protest claimed that the Agnipath scheme will weaken the country’s Army and reduce its numbers.
“Haryana will be among the states that are hit hardest by the scheme. When the country became independent, India had 4 lakh soldiers, which increased to 14 lakh in the last 70 years. Two lakh posts are vacant due to non-recruitment in the Army for the last three years. The government instead of making new recruitments has come up with a plan to play with the future of the youth. If this scheme is implemented, it will gradually bring down the strength of our army to around 6 lakh soldiers. This will have a very negative impact, especially on Haryana. Till now 5,000-7,000 youth were recruited in the Army every year from Haryana. If there was regular recruitment for 3 years, about 20,000 youth would have been recruited. But now only 963 Agniveers will be admitted under the Agnipath scheme and 75 percent of them will be pushed into unemployment after 4 years”, Hooda said.
Reacting to the Haryana government’s claim of providing permanent jobs to Agniveers, Hooda questioned the poor track record of Haryana government over giving jobs to the ex-servicemen who retire every year.
“Government must answer why it has given jobs to only 543 out of 29,275 ex-servicemen so far. If the government wants to give jobs to the Agniveers, then they first should give permanent jobs to all people being recruited in the Army in the state government and then send them on deputation for 4 years,” Hooda said.