HomeLatest NewsEx-Army Chief defends Agnipath scheme; 'cannot negate policy without trying' | India...

Ex-Army Chief defends Agnipath scheme; ‘cannot negate policy without trying’ | India News – Times of India

MUMBAI: “HR policies in any organisation will always undergo changes. No HR system of hiring, promotions or release will continue forever. We cannot discount or negate any new policy without trying it out or without giving it time to establish itself. And if there is a requirement of further tweaking the system then mid-course corrections will be carried out from time to time,” said former Army Chief General Manoj Naravane, defending the new Agnipath scheme for the recruitment of soldiers for all three armed forces.
Naravane was speaking at the Defence Symposium at IIT-Bombay’s annual Techfest. While answering a question over his views on the new scheme, where only 25% of recruits will be retained after the four-year service term, Naravane said that till the mid-1970s, soldiers used to serve only for seven years and they were not eligible for pension. “But it was felt that they are going out with less service at a young age. So the terms of engagement were changed and it was brought to 15 years and only after 15 years of continuous service, a Jawan in the forces became entitled to pension. Changes have happened… there was a hue and cry even then… if that system worked, the new system would also work. We have to give it a try,” he said.
This is weeks after Naravane reportedly mentioned that the new policy had come as a ‘surprise’ to the armed forces. The proposed retention percentage was, reportedly, 75% after four-years’ service under the ‘Tour of duty’ scheme, which was changed to 25% in the scheme released by the government as Agnipath. The new scheme met with opposition from aspiring candidates.
Former Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and Former Navy Chief Karambir Singh, who were also on the Powai campus for the symposium, also spoke in favour of the policy. Supporting it, Bhadauria said that there is always a question mark in people’s minds about the success or failure of a policy whenever there is a change. A lot of thought goes into the reforms, he said. “What needs to be understood is that for people who are wanting to stay for the long term after getting in as Agniveer they need to do well and they will come into the bracket which will become permanent… And for people who do not become permanent or who do not want to become permanent at the end of their four-year term (after understanding whether they would want to continue or not)… you have an option to leave and you will have necessary support from the services and the government in many areas..,” said Bhadauria.
Singh said that Agniveer is going to be a leadership challenge for the armed forces and that is where ‘we are very strong’. “We have got good leaders and good officers and they will have to make sure that the Agniveers are up to it,” he added.

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