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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Does contractual recruitment in army serve any purpose?

Sir

The Tour of Duty (ToD) scheme for enlistment in the military has been drawing protests from across the country, with the strategy not serving any fruitful purpose when practical aspects are considered on what impact it may have on the youths.

While the scheme may sound lucrative at the outset, giving the youths an opportunity to don the uniform and serve in the army, in the long term, the cons would overshadow the overall advantage it promises to offer.

The so called ‘Agniveers’ aged between 17.5 to 23 years recruited under the scheme will be recruited for four years, with about 75 per cent exiting the service after this period to seek employment elsewhere, or unlearn things which they had picked up during the four years as an army personnel.

The debatable Agnipath scheme which can be termed as a contractual appointment has not much of a merit given the huge expenditure government will incur on the youths to train them, and later abandon them to pursue other careers, which will also leave many of them jobless or force them to even utilise the training for underground activities, particularly in insurgency prone North East.

The entire exercise will be futile for the Agniveers as at the end of their service, they will lose on their education and their future pursuits. Seventeen-and-a-half is an age when a student prepares for higher studies, but joining services at this age and then retiring after four years will deprive them of their education. After retirement, when a student is expected to have completed a bachelors or masters course, will instead only have a class 12 certificate; to again go back to studies and complete the course left mid-way will not be wise for many.

While the government has maintained that the scheme will also divert the youths from taking up illegal activities it has not taken into account that many would after getting trained in military warfare would be lured by crime syndicates.

In addition to that, imagine thousands being trained for war, considering long-term threats from Pakistan or China, however, giving them a chance to leave the service at real time war-like escalations will short-circuit the entire objective of the project.

Banlum Nongbri
Shillong

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