Following the announcement of the Agnipath Defense Force Recruitment Scheme, Gandhinagar-based Rashtriya Raksha University (RRU), a national security and police institution, announced on Monday that it would offer concurrent courses to “Agniveers” (recruits under Agnipath) during their four-year stay in the Indian Army, Indian Navy or Indian Air Force (IAF).
Recently, the central government announced the Agnipath Scheme under which midshipmen between the ages of 17.5 and 23 will be recruited on a four-year contract basis in the three services. Since the announcement of the scheme, widespread protests have erupted across India with arson and vandalism in several cities.
Established in 2020 as an institution of national importance, the RRU falls under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and offers specialized undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the fields of national security, cybersecurity, police and public administration, among others. In an exclusive interview with The Indian Express, RRU Vice Chancellor Dr. Bimal Patel spoke with Vaibhav Jha. Excerpts:
How do you see the role of RRU in the Agnipath scheme?
We see an important role of RRU in the Agnipath scheme. Today we had a meeting with the heads of all departments where we decided that the RRU would be happy to offer undergraduate admissions to matrics selected under the Agnipath program and completing their four year stay and are no longer part of the Services. For those who complete their senior secondary examination and serve as active Agniveers – whether in India or abroad, the RRU will simultaneously offer a one-year certificate course, or a two-year diploma or a three-year degree course. years (BA, BCom, BE or BTech), which they can continue with their service.
Soldiers do not need to be physically present throughout the academic calendar except for orientation and exams. This will ensure that qualified armed forces personnel will now also be academically qualified. This will be possible as we have several MoUs with Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force and Armed Forces under MHA.
How do you assess the Agnipath project?
This program is designed to meet the need for qualified and technologically savvy personnel in our defense forces. We have to see this from the perspective where young people will be interested in employment opportunities as long-term prospects. We have already seen a number of departments, ministries and industrial houses showing interest in hiring skilled labor for security purposes. This will be a game-changer not only for the government but also for India’s youth as they are agile, capable, committed and look forward to a prosperous and peaceful India where they also have a role to play.
Do you see more participation of young people from Gujarat in the armed forces through Agnipath? Historically, very few in Gujarat venture into services.
Agnipath will increase the overall geographic representation of youth in any state’s military. Ideas such as patriotism, moral fabric and national values will be strengthened. I believe that the youths of Gujarat will be encouraged to serve not only the defense forces but also other armed forces including the police.
There is a huge vacancy in the police department among executives in every state. Often we are not able to fill these vacancies because we cannot find the right combination of talents, skills and age. If these young people are registered with Agnipath, their chances of being registered with other security agencies such as the police will automatically increase. This will therefore solve the problem of long-term unemployment.
What other prospects did the Agniveers have once they got out of defense services?
According to a report published in 2017, there will be a demand for 3.1 million skilled workers in corporate and private security services by 2022. actively looking for a mix of young people qualified and experienced.
India trades for millions of dollars with other countries and who will be better placed to protect our national interests abroad than our own native skilled labor? Through Agnipath, we look at three important national verticals: Defense, MHA-Related Forces, and Corporate and Private Security.
The government claimed that only 45,000 to 50,000 people would be recruited into the three services through Agnipath each year. Do you see an increase in this number in the coming years?
Absolutely. I see the first batch of 45,000 Agniveers will create positive pressure on young people across the country to join the services. The first batch will see the benefits of this scheme and the numbers will only increase over time.
We have seen protests against the program in several states. What do you think went wrong? Was there miscommunication with the aspirants?
I can’t comment on what went wrong, but I can say with conviction that once the program is rolled out, the misconceptions surrounding it will naturally disappear. Whenever a new policy is released, there are protests against it, but with its implementation, misconceptions also disappear.
When the program was announced, the government said it intended to create a technically competent force? Do you think RRU can help train Agniveers?
As we are an institute of national importance specializing in national security, it will be an honor for the RRU to offer our services to enhance the knowledge and skills of Agniveers.