Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today vouched for the government's decision to approve the new military recruitment 'Agnipath' scheme. He said it gives a "golden opportunity" to young people to join the defence forces and serve the country.
The 'Agnipath' policy allows those selected under this scheme, known as 'Agniveers', to serve in the armed forces for four years.
"The Agnipath scheme by the central government gives a golden opportunity to the youth of the country to join the defence system and serve the country. 'I am Agniveer' with being their unique identity with freshness," Mr Singh said.
"Due to a snag in the recruitment process in the army for two years, many youths did not get the opportunity to join the army. This is a fact. That is why, keeping in mind the future of the youth and showing sensitivity towards them, with the approval of the Prime Minister, the government has decided that this time the age limit for the recruitment of Agniveers should be increased from 21 to 23 years," he said.
"This one-time relaxation has been given by the government. This will automatically increase the eligibility of many young people to become Agniveers. The recruitment process is going to start in a few days. I appeal to all the youth to prepare for joining the army and take full advantage of it," he said.
Mr Singh is in Jammu and Kashmir for a two-day visit.
The 'Agnipath' scheme radically changes the recruitment process to the armed forces. But under fire from the opposition and amid protests over the new policy, the centre decided to change the upper age limit for recruiting 'Agniveers'.
Granting a one-time waiver, the centre announced that the 'Agniveer' upper age limit for recruitments via the 'Agnipath' scheme has been extended to 23 years from 21 years.