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Can't keep soldiers on rent: Bhagwant Mann demands rollback of 'Agnipath' scheme

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New Delhi, Jun 17: Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Friday demanded an immediate rollback of the Narendra Modi-led central government's 'Agnipath' scheme for recruitment in armed forces, saying, "we can't keep soldiers on rent.

Agnipath Violence: Plea in SC seeks probe into the protests | Oneindia News *NewsBulletin

The AAP leader further told ANI, "Politicians never retire; it's only soldiers and the public who retire."

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann

"We can't keep soldiers on rent. How can we make them ex-soldiers merely at age of 21? They protect the country in harsh conditions. Politicians never retire it's only soldiers, public who retire...We don't need the military on rent. Agnipath scheme must be taken back," said Bhagwant Mann.

Unveiling the scheme on Tuesday, the government had said youngsters between the ages of 17-and-a-half and 21 years would be inducted for a four-year tenure, while 25 per cent of the recruits will be retained for regular service.

Widespread protests erupted in Bihar, Rajasthan and some other states against the recruitment scheme, over concerns of job security and other issues.

The 'Agnipath' scheme opens the way for recruitment of about 45,000 soldiers into Army, Navy and Air Force in the first year but on a short-term contract of four years. After the completion of the contract, 25% of them will be retained and the rest will leave the forces.

"Cognisant of the fact that it has not been possible to undertake the recruitment during the last two years, the government has decided that a one-time waiver shall be granted for the proposed recruitment cycle for 2022," according to a statement issued by the defence ministry.

"Accordingly, the upper age limit for the recruitment process for Agnipath scheme for 2022 is increased to 23 years," the statement said.

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