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Governance

Line of Duty Compensation for Agniveer

  • 24 Oct 2023
  • 6 min read

For Prelims: Compensation to Agniveer, Agnipath scheme, Seva Nidhi, Three services (Army, Navy and Airforce), Armed Forces Battle Casualty Fund.

For Mains: Compensation to Agniveer after Death in Line of Duty, Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

Source: TH

Why in News?

Recently, an Agniveer passed away on duty at the Siachen glacier, which sparked a controversy regarding the entitlement of pensions and Compensation for the families of Agniveers.

What Compensation is Promised After the Demise of an Agniveer?

  • Seva Nidhi:
    • An Agniveer's family is entitled to several forms of compensation, including a non-contributory insurance sum of Rs 48 lakh, Rs 44 lakh as compensation, and 30% of Seva Nidhi contributed by the Agniveer, with an equal matching contribution by the government.
    • Additionally, interest accrues on these amounts.
  • Armed Forces Battle Casualty Fund:
    • The family also receives pay for the remaining tenure from the date of death, amounting to over Rs 13 lakh, as well as a contribution of Rs 8 lakh from the Armed Forces Battle Casualty Fund.
  • Army Wives Welfare Association:
    • To provide immediate financial assistance, the Army Wives Welfare Association offers Rs 30,000 to the next of kin.

What is the Agnipath Scheme?

  • About:
    • It allows patriotic and motivated youth to serve in the Armed Forces for a period of four years. Youth will be able to be recruited into the army for a short duration.
    • Under the new scheme, around 45,000 to 50,000 soldiers will be recruited annually, and most will leave the service in just four years.
  • Eligibility Criteria:
    • It is only for personnel below officer ranks (those who do not join the forces as commissioned officers).
      • Commissioned officers are the army's highest ranked officers.
      • Commissioned officers hold an exclusive rank in the Indian armed forces. They often hold a commission under the president's sovereign power and are officially instructed to protect the country.
    • Aspirants between the ages of 17.5 years and 21 years will be eligible to apply.
  • Objectives:
    • It aims at providing an opportunity to the patriotic and motivated youth with the ‘Josh’ and ‘Jazba’ to join the Armed Forces.
    • It is expected to bring down the average age profile of the Indian Armed Forces by about 4 to 5 years.
    • The scheme envisions that the average age in the forces is 32 years today, which will go down to 26 in six to seven years.
  • Benefits for Agniveers:
    • Upon the completion of the 4-years of service, a one-time ‘Seva Nidhi’ package of Rs 11.71 lakhs will be paid to the Agniveers that will include their accrued interest thereon.
    • They will also get a Rs 48 lakh life insurance cover for the four years.
    • In case of death, the payout will be over Rs 1 crore, including pay for the unserved tenure.
    • The government will help rehabilitate soldiers who leave the services after four years.

What are the Concerns Related to Agniveers?

  • Difficult to Find Another Job:
    • The 'Agnipath' initiative paves the path for the enlistment of approximately 45,000 personnel into the Army, Navy, and Air Force in its inaugural year.
    • However, these recruits will serve on a temporary four-year contract. Upon the fulfillment of their contract, 25% of them will be retained, while the remaining will exit the armed forces.
  • No Pension Benefit:
    • Those hired under the 'Agnipath' scheme will be given a one-time lump sum of a little more than Rs 11 lakh when they end their four-year tenure.
    • However, they do not receive any pension benefits. For most, seeking a second job is essential to support themselves and their families.
  • Training May Remain Unutilized:
    • Forces will lose experienced soldiers.
    • The jawans joining the Army, Navy and Air Force will be given technical training so that they are able to support the ongoing operations.
    • Women are yet to be inducted under this scheme.

Way Forward

  • Government should consider relaxation in mandatory licensing regulations for Agniveers to attract more of them to invest in starting up a business unit.
  • It will act as a double benefit move of providing entrepreneurial opportunity and growth in the economy.
  • Attractive interest rates on deposits for Agniveers would stimulate savings and benefit banks.
  • For those Agniveers who want to pursue higher education, a relaxation in the admission criteria (relaxation in cut off etc) will prove to be a major attraction.
  • Highly qualified and disciplined Agniveers will have the ability to take up ample opportunities available to them.

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