The Indian Army has laid down a set of terms and conditions for aspirants wanting to the join the force under the Agnipath scheme.
Releasing details of the recruitment scheme on Sunday, the Army said Agniveers would form a distinct rank in the Indian Army that will be different from any other existing ranks and they can be posted to any regiment and unit.
It said that recruits cannot disclose classified information gained during the four-year service period to any unauthorised person or source under the Official Secrets Act, 1923.
“With the introduction of this scheme, the enrolment of soldiers in the regular cadre of the Indian Army, except technical cadres of medical branch, will be available only to those personnel who have completed their engagement period as Agniveer,” the Army said.
Also read: Agnipath decoded: How to join, salary, benefits — and criticism
Under the rules, a recruit, except in exceptional cases, cannot take voluntary retirement and has to wait till the completion of the service period.
“However, in most exceptional cases, personnel enrolled under this scheme may be released, if sanctioned by the competent authority,” it said.
The Agnipath scheme, announced on June 14, provides for the recruitment of youths between the age bracket of 17-and-half years to 21 for only four years with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 more years. Later the government extended the upper age limit to 23 years for recruitment in 2022. The personnel to be recruited under the new scheme will be known as Agniveers.
The Army said the new recruits will be subjected to the provisions of the Army Act, 1950 and will be liable to go wherever ordered by land, sea or air. A “distinctive insignia” will be worn by the Agniveers on their uniform during their service period. Detailed instructions on the same will be issued separately, the Army said.
The Army said that based on organisational requirements and policies, Agniveers, on completion of their engagement period in each batch, will be offered an opportunity to apply for enrolment in the regular cadre.
“These applications will be considered in a centralised manner by the Army based on objective criteria including performance during their engagement period and not more than 25 per cent of each specific batch of Agniveers will be enrolled in regular cadre post completion of their four-year engagement period,” according to the document released by the Army.
“Agniveers so enrolled as regular cadre would be required to serve for a further engagement period of 15 years and will be governed by terms and conditions of service (of Junior Commissioned Officer/ Other Ranks) currently in vogue,” it said.
The Army said the Agniveers will not have any right to be selected after completion of their four-year tenure. As part of the enrolment process, each Agniveer will be required to formally accept all terms and conditions of the Agnipath scheme. For personnel below the age of 18 years, the enrolment form will be required to be signed by the parents or guardians, according to the document.
The Agniveers will be eligible for 30 days leave in a year as against 90 days for those in regular service. Medical leave will be granted based on medical advice. The Army said 30 per cent of the monthly salary of the Agniveers will be compulsorily deposited in a corpus and an equal amount will be contributed by the government.
“On completion of the tenure, the corpus of ₹5.02 lakhs will be matched by the government of India and an amount of ₹10.04 lakhs and accrued interest will be given to the Agniveers,” the Army said. “In case of Agniveers who are subsequently selected for enrolment in the Indian Army as regular cadre, the Seva Nidhi package to be paid to them will comprise only their contribution including accrued interest thereon,” the Army said. “In the case of Agniveers exiting service before the end of their engagement period on their own request, the individuals Seva Nidhi Package, accumulated as on date, will be paid with the applicable rate of interest. In such cases, no government contribution to Seva Nidhi Package will be entitled,” it said.
(With inputs from agencies)