The government of India has approved a new recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the
Armed Forces. The scheme, cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security, is called AGNIPATH
and the youth selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers.
AGNIPATH allows patriotic and motivated youth to serve in the Armed Forces for a period of four years. This will
not only bring down the average age of the forces by 4 to 5 years, but will also bring down the
expenditure of the government on Pensions paid to ex-servicemen.
About the scheme
● 45,000 to 50,000 soldiers will be recruited annually, and most will leave the service in
just four years.
● Of the total annual recruits, 25 percent will be allowed to continue for another 15 years
under permanent commission.
● Conditions to apply: 17.5 years to 21 years of age for non-commissioned ranks under the
same criteria as earlier.
● The recruitment drive would be done twice a year
● Service period: 6 months training + 3.5 years deployment
● Service pay: Total pay of 11.71 Lakhs during the service
Benefits to Agniveers
● 30 percent of salary set aside under a Seva Nidhi programme, with an equal amount
contributed by government every month, and it will also accrue interest.
● The retiring soldiers will get skill certificates as well as bank loans to start their second
● Rs 48 lakh life insurance cover for the four years. In case of death, the payout will be
over Rs 1 crore, including pay for the unserved tenure.
● 3 year skill based Bachelor degree programme to be launched under IGNOU for defence
personnel which will recognize skill training during service.
● Priority in the recruitment under CAPFs and Assam Rifles after 4 years by Ministry of
Financial Advantages to Services
● For years, the revenue expenditure of the Ministry of Defence has been more than capital
● In 2021-22, expenditure on salaries and pensions forms the largest portion of the defence
budget (Rs 2,58,628 crore, 54% of the defence budget). Capital outlay of Rs 1,28,150
crore, forms 27% of the defence budget.
● Salaries paid to forces have also been increasing over the years.
Salaries paid in pay and allowances: 2020-21 – Rs 88,800 crore ; 2021-22 – Rs 99,800
● The total pay and allowances for the three services for the year 2022-23 comes close to
Rs 1.35 lakh crore.
● Added to the Rs 1.2 lakh crore of pension, the government has allocated Rs 2.55 lakh
crore for just salary and pension this year, which is higher than the Rs 2.33 lakh crore
allocated for capital outlay, to be used for modernisation of the defence forces.
● The 2012-13 Budget had these allocations:
Rs 39,000 crore for defence pension
Rs 56,000 crore for pay and allowances of the services,
Rs 80,000 crore for capital outlay
This provides a grim picture of rising expenses for pension and salaries every year.
So how much money can be saved with this Agnipath scheme?
● According to calculations of the initially proposed 3-year service project, lifetime savings
for just one sepoy is Rs 11.5 Crore. Therefore for every 1000 jawans, the savings would
be Rs 11,000 Crore.
With the 4-year service, the savings would be more or less around the same mark, which
can be used for modernisation of defence.
● A unique opportunity to the youth to serve the country and contribute to Nation Building.
● Injection of youth and skills in armed forces. The average age of Armed forces would
come down from the current 31 years to 26 years.
● Better career options after service than a 15-year short service commission since youth
would be more skilfully trained and would be provided with loans
● Availability of a higher-skilled workforce to the economy which will be helpful in
productivity gain and overall GDP growth
● Further prepares a cadre of already trained personnels for future contingencies
● Concerns about scheme being implemented directly without a pilot-basis trial
● Apprehensions whether a person on short service would be as committed for work or on
the frontline as a full-time soldier
● Questions on how ready will the soldiers be in 6 months of training for upcoming 3.5
● There might be a trade-off between economic savings and quality in service
● It is still unknown whether the servicemen after 4 year course would be able to find new
jobs or set-up successful businesses
● Bulk retiring of servicemen in every course would take a toll on India’s labour-force ratio