Recruitment norms to remain unchanged: DefMin

The recruitment process and the mandatory physical standards and education will remain unchanged under the Agnipath scheme, senior defence ministry officials have said, asserting that the traditional regimental system of the Army will be retained. Speaking to the media, additional secretary, department of military affairs (DMA), Lt Gen Anil Puri said that soldiers recruited under the scheme would be entitled to all awards and gallantry medals while in service.

On the recruitment process, which is being rolled out this week by the respective services, officials said that the standards set for physical strength, medical requisites as well as educational qualifications have been left untouched.

Puri, who has been fielded to respond to queries after widespread protests erupted against the scheme, said that the Agnipath model went through at least two years of deliberations and studies. The officer added that the three previous chiefs of the armed forces had also discussed the issue in detail as part of a consultative process.

He said the idea behind the scheme is to lower the age profile of soldiers in the armed forces, which he said has been suggested by several expert committees in the past. Puri repeated that anyone found indulging in arson or rioting would not be allowed to the join the scheme and stringent checks would be put in place to identify any such candidates.

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Harry Byrne

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