TS ranks 20th in Army recruitment with just 10,970 personnel in armed forces; north Indian states top list

Telangana is not a top Army recruiting state yet Secunderabad witnessed widespread protests on 17 June against the Central government’s Agnipath recruitment scheme.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  19 Jun 2022 10:07 AM GMT
TS ranks 20th in Army recruitment with just 10,970 personnel in armed forces; north Indian states top list

Hyderabad: Telangana is not a top Army recruiting state yet Secunderabad witnessed widespread protests on 17 June against the Central government's Agnipath recruitment scheme. Telangana stands 20th on the Army recruitment list and according to the data released by the ministry of Defence in the Rajya Sabha on 15 March 2021, a total of 10,970 people from Telangana are working in the Indian Army.

Andhra Pradesh ranks 11th with 44,123 Army personnel from the state.

The data reveals that the north Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab top the Army recruitment list. Out of the 11,21,489 people working in the Army, 1,67,557 are from Uttar Pradesh and 89,088 are from Punjab. Meanwhile, 87,835 are from Maharashtra, 79,481 are from Rajasthan, and 75,026 are from Bihar.

Interestingly, among the south Indian states, Telangana has fewer Army personnel compared to the other five states. Tamil Nadu tops among the south Indian states in Army recruitment with 52,667 personnel, followed by Andhra Pradesh with 44,123 and Kerala with 38,927 personnel. Karnataka has 32,634 Army personnel.

According to reports, two places in Kerala – Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram – and Belagavi in Karnataka also saw protests against the Agnipath scheme. But none of the southern states saw massive, violent protests like the one that took place in Telangana's Hyderabad. One of the protesters lost his life, some were injured, and over Rs. 3 crores worth of property belonging to the South Central Railway was damaged.

Secunderabad violence

More than 500 students from various districts of Telangana reached Hyderabad on the evening of 16 June. They planned to organise a protest after the Central government announced the Agnipath recruitment scheme on 14 June.

The protestors were reportedly Army Common Entrance Examination (CEE) aspirants which has not been conducted over the last two years due to Covid-19. They started planning the protest through various groups on WhatsApp and Telegram. The aspirants are part of these groups that essentially act as study groups.

The protesting youth demanded that the old way of recruiting into the Army be followed. They said four years of service in the Army is insufficient.

"As CEE was canceled, I was scared that I'll cross the age limit. But after waiting for two years, the government comes up with a scheme that puts us out of work after four years. That's wrong," one of the protestors explained.

The protestors reportedly reached the city via various public transports and stayed the night at their friends' or relatives' homes. "This is a planned protest. This particular station was chosen because it is the headquarters of the South Central Railways (SCR). We are protesting against the Central government's new Agnipath recruitment scheme," another protestor said.

"There is no political motive behind the protest. We want the Army recruitment to be the way it was. If the government does not roll back the Agnipath scheme over the next couple of days, thousands more people will gather here," a protestor said.

What is the Agnipath scheme?

On 14 June, the Union Cabinet approved the Agnipath recruitment scheme that will allow Indian youth to serve in the armed forces. Youth selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers, and they will be allowed to serve in the armed forces for four years.

Under the scheme, the government hopes to attract young talent who are more in tune with contemporary technological trends and "plow back skilled, disciplined and motivated manpower into the society."

"As for the armed forces, it will enhance the youthful profile of the armed forces and provide a fresh lease of 'Josh' and 'Jazba' whilst at the same time bring about a transformational shift towards more tech-savvy armed forces – which is indeed the need of the hour," the government said in a press release.

The implementation of the scheme is likely to bring down the average age profile of the Indian armed forces by about 4-5 years.

The government plans to recruit 46,000 Agniveers this year. Recruitment rallies will commence in 90 days.

Compensation and benefits

Agniveers will be given a customized monthly package along with risk and hardship allowances as applicable in the three services. On completion of the engagement period of four years, they will be paid a one-time 'Seva Nidhi' package of Rs. 11.71 lakh that will comprise their contribution, including accrued interest thereon, and a matching contribution from the government equal to the accumulated amount of their contribution, including interest.

The 'Seva Nidhi' will be exempt from Income Tax. Agniveers will not be entitled to gratuity and pensionary benefits but will be provided non-contributory life insurance cover of Rs. 48 lakhs for the duration of their engagement period.

Upon the completion of four years of service, based on organisational requirements and policies promulgated by the armed forces from time to time, Agniveers will be offered an opportunity to apply for permanent enrolment in the armed forces. The individuals, selected for enrolment in the armed forces as regular cadre, would be required to serve for a further engagement period of a minimum of 15 years and would be governed by the existing terms and conditions of service of junior commissioned officers/other ranks in the Indian Army and their equivalent in the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force and that of non-combatant enrolled in the Indian Air Force, as amended from time to time.

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