Rajnath Singh: Agniveer martyrs get Rs 1.08 cr; Gandhi misleading people

The ‘Agniveer’ scheme introduced in 2022 sparked a debate during the July 1 Parliament session. Leader of the Opposition, Rahul Gandhi, claimed that Agniveers do not receive a pension or the title of ‘Martyr’.

| Updated: 02 July, 2024 1:28 pm IST

NEW DELHI: The ‘Agniveer’ scheme introduced in 2022 sparked a debate during the July 1 Parliament session. Leader of the Opposition, Rahul Gandhi, claimed that Agniveers do not receive a pension or the title of ‘Martyr’.

“One Agniveer lost his life in a landmine blast, but he is not called a ‘martyr’. I call him a martyr, but the Government of India does not. PM Modi does not call him a martyr — he calls him an Agniveer. His family will not get a pension. They won’t get compensation. Agniveer is use-and-throw, like a labourer,” Gandhi said in Hindi.

However, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh quickly stood up to defend the scheme, asking Gandhi not to mislead the House with “wrong statements”. Singh stated that the next of kin of Agniveers killed in the line of duty receive financial assistance of ₹1 crore.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah also defended the Agniveer scheme, stating, “Parliament is not a place to lie. LoP should bring factual data or else ask for forgiveness from Agniveers and all countrymen.”

“The Agniveer scheme is the brainchild of the PMO and not of soldiers,” Gandhi further claimed.

Singh responded, “Regarding the Agniveer scheme, direct communication was established with many people, and suggestions from 158 organizations were considered. This scheme has been implemented after thorough consideration.”

Gandhi criticized the BJP for the scheme, saying, “It’s unfair that Agniveers, who receive just 6 months of training, are asked to confront enemies like the Chinese who get 5 years of training.”

Singh countered, “Similar schemes exist in many foreign countries like the UK and US without issues. Why does the opposition here have issues?”

Gandhi concluded his remark by saying, “PM Modi and the BJP government like Agniveers, which is why they support it. We will change it when we (Congress) come into power because we believe this scheme goes against the interests of soldiers and countrymen.”

The AGNIPATH Scheme in the Indian Armed Forces involves selecting candidates as Agniveers for four years. After completion, Agniveers transition into society as disciplined, dynamic, motivated, and skilled workers eligible for employment in various sectors of their choice. Based on organizational needs and Armed Forces policies, up to 25% of Agniveers may be selected to join the Armed Forces permanently.

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