Skip to main content

Agniveers on contract: What if Chinese PLA offers Indian youth better service options?

By Harshavardhan Purandare, Sandeep Pandey
*
The Narendra Modi government just doesn’t seem to learn from its past mistakes. From demonetisation to farmers’ laws with decision on Kashmir, Citizenship Amendment Act and Covid lockdown in the interim the citizens of this country have had to suffer because of not just the unwise decisions of the government but also the manner in which decisions are taken. Once again we’ve a characteristic high handed decision without any consultation with either the general public or the people’s representatives.
The Agnipath scheme, in spite of its popular Bollywood title and its hyped launch, has set the Indian youth on fire against the government within a day of its launch. In the present environment of economic uncertainty, the young Indians are instigated with the scheme announced by our prime minister, as it shrinks their job opportunity in the defense forces further. The ‘hire and fire’ logic of cost cutting will not only hurt the careers in the army, but it will also reduce the professional competency of the defense forces in the long run.
While all this is discussed by defense experts, one must explore another side of this scheme, that it makes thousands of trained ‘Agniveers’ -- 75% recruits who lose their jobs after four years' contract is over -- simply unemployed. Government is saying that they can be absorbed in the state police force or other professional security requirements, but that can turn out to be a half truth.
Most of them are more likely to be absorbed as private security guards by agencies out to exploit them. One dangerous prospect is -- they will become easy recruits for political ideologies that believe in violence, to be used in the capacity of foot soldiers.
This announcement is clearly in line with recruitment processes in other departments where short term contract employees working at much lower salaries with no liabilities for the government are preferred over regular employment. But then why should we assume that they will give their best for the country?
The reason why armed forces are revered is that they are willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of country. If a four years recruit is faced with a situation where he is expected to make a sacrifice with economic insecurity of his family looming large, we cannot be sure what decision he will take?
With economic policies of globalisation, privatisation and liberalisation some areas have been opened up for employment of foreign nationals -- teaching posts in private universities, airline pilots, cricket players in IPL and coaches for various sports, etc. If armed forces too proceed in this direction then what prevents the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in recruiting Indian youth at better service conditions? Afterall, we do have a Gorkha regiment of Indian Army, who originally hail from Nepal.
Traditionally, our civil society and armed forces do maintain a distance from each other. The mingling happens only through defined channels for honouring and celebrating men and women performing their duty in military uniforms. Armed warfare is not an everyday thing for the average Indian.
Neither there is social support for including military education in the school system nor the military leaders aspire much to occupy the top positions in civil and political life beyond a few exceptions. Still, we have managed to create competent and professional defense forces who have defended us well after independence.
But after Hindutva nationalists came to power, security issues got hyped and became the core of the political narrative. As if the rulers want every Indian to live in fear of imagined attack, issues around the army gets hyped and politicized. Suddenly, retired military generals appear on TV shows or become ministers, campaigning in favour of nationalism.
Narendra Modi made an appeal to youth to vote in the name of surgical strike at Balakot in response to Pulwama attack. We have to view the outcome of Agnipath in light of such a political environment. What will prevent a jingoistic leader to goad the jobless youth trained by Armed forces in their twenties and thirties not mature enough to discern national interest from the interest of ruling dispensation to take up arms for a particular cause?
Beyond the political motives, one can say that branding of Agniveers and hype that is created around this recruitment is also a bad idea. There is a difference in celebrating the sacrifices, bravery of our soldiers and painting them as Bollywood superheroes in the imagination of young Indians through vicious WhatsApp campaigns.
We do not want our next generations to fight imaginary enemies and live in fantasy of the violence. Neither the knowledge of how to use guns and weapons should become the pursuit of teenage India. We do not want the culture of video game psychopaths getting into the schools and killing the innocents.
The US is struggling with moral dilemma of gun control laws in the aftermath of recent killing in a school. Pakistan has also witnessed such indiscriminate killing of children. The government support to militia in Pakistan is an open secret, the biggest price for which has been paid by Pakistan itself.
In the days of the internet, the knowledge and fad of weapons will travel from one cell phone to another at the speed of light, if we hype the armed forces in civil society. Finding Desi Kattas in black markets or guns from the gun manufacturing cottage industry of Munger in Bihar for cheap is not at all difficult if motivation for violence is created. In the name of cause of national security, the campaigns with undertones of violence will only do harm to peace and internal security.
Army should have public support and backing, but they are expected to perform discreetly. The defense forces are our last resort to be used to settle political conflicts at the borders or inside the country. We must let them operate independently.
---
*Associated with Socialist Party (India)

Comments

SAMIR SARDANA said…
THE PATHETOS OF INDIA + AGNIVEER SCAM

"Military recruitment policy" ?

What Policy ?

Chaiwala is creating a vigilante force of right wing ultranationalists,who will receive arms training from the Indian Army and be deployed all over India as spies and informers and the 1st line of defense against FREEDOM FIGHTERS AND CLASS FIGHTERS

The 1st deployment will be in Kashmir, as a precursor, to dump the Pandits in the Valley

THERE IS NO MILIT RECRUITMENT.

WHAT CAN A SOLDIER DO IN 4 YEARS ? IT TAKES DECADES TO SYNTHESISE A SOLIDER WITH TECHNOLOGY.

INDIAN ARMY DOES NOT NEED FUNDS FOR NEW WEAPONS - THEY JUST WANT TO GET RID OF SOLDIERS AND OUTSOURCE THE TECH AND MANAGEMENT FUNCTIONS OF
CSD/AOC/ASC and WILL USE LATERAL HIRES IN EME/SIGNALS AND SAPPERS

IN 10 YEARS,400000 AGNIVEERS WILL BE TRAINED AND WILL REPLACE THE INDIAN ARMY IN KASHMIR AND NORTH EAST - AND THE ARMY WILL MOVE TO THE BORDER (OUT OF INSURGENCY)

COST REDUCTION + NIL ROLE IN COUNTER- INSURGENCY + BACK TO CORE FOCUS + REDUCE PENSION LIABILITY.dindooohindoo

IN STEP 2 THE ARMY WILL BRING IN LATERAL HIRES IN THE TECHNICAL AND MANAGEMENT FUNCTIONS OF CSD/AOC/ASC/EME

IN STEP 3, PVT CONTRACTORS WILL GET OUTSOURCING CONTRACTS FROM CSD/AOC/ASC/ EME

IF PHDs ARE WORKING AS CLERKS,WHAT JOBS WILL AN AGNIVEER GET AFTER 4 YEARS ?

CHAIWALA IS CREATING A MILITIA TO COUNTER THE INDIAN MUSLIMS - IN OTHER WORDS AND ARMED RSS - TO BE SPREAD ALL OVER INDIA.

EVEN IN THE ARMOURED DIVISION AND MECH INFANTRY - THERE IS A LARGE PROCESS OF ACTIVITIES,WHICH CAN BE OUTSOURCED AND SPECIALIST TECHNICAL HIRES,CAN BE
MADE FOR 5-10 YEARS !

BUT ALL THIS OUTSOURCING AND LATERAL HIRES IS NOT FOR COST REDUCTION AND EFFICIENCY

IT IS TO PLACE THE STOOGES OF THE INDIAN BANIAS IN THE ARMY - SO THAT LUCRATIVE DEFENSE OUTSOURCING CONTRACTS REACH A FEW LARGE BANIA CORPORATES.

TRENDING

Economist-editor's allegations on Narmada defamatory, baseless: Medha Patkar

Counterview Desk  In a reply directly addressed to well-known economist, journalist and columnist Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar’s two articles in the Times of India (republished here and here ), calling them defamatory and wondering whether they were borne out of “ignorance or a conspiracy through political alliance”, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Pakar has said that the Narmada Sardar Saravar Project and the people's movement by adivasis, farmers, labourers, fish workers, potters and all the generations’ old communities from the river valley have suddenly come to be focused on, since the Gujarat elections are in the doorstep. She believes that while the “defamatory accusations with baseless conceptions such as ‘urban naxals’ are to be laughed at as the electoral strategic moves, one gets shocked to read the articles by a known old columnist like Swaminathan Ankalesaria Aiyar, published in a reputed daily like the Times of India." According to her, Aiyar’s two articl

Hindutva groups threat to peace, freedom: US diaspora groups tell FBI, other govt depts

By Our Representative  The Islamophobic and neo-Nazi ideology of Hindutva is a clear and present danger to peace and freedoms in the United States, a coalition of civil rights organizations told key officials of the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, the US Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at a recent event in Edison, New Jersey. At the event titled United Against Hate, activists from American Muslims for Democracy (AMD), Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR) and Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) made detailed presentations on this ideology of Hindu supremacism that is committing mass persecution of India’s Muslims and Christians and is rearing its ugly head in New Jersey as well as across the US. Attending the event were David S Leonardis, Special Investigator from the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety; Michael E Campion, Chief of the Civil Rights Division for the US Attorney General's Office; and Jonathan R Norbut of the U.S. Dep

Facing tough times, Rajasthan's Raika herders hold first-ever camel cheese festival

By Rosamma Thomas*  During the pandemic, the annual Pushkar camel fair in Rajasthan did not occur for fear of contagion; in 2022, it was called off again as lumpy skin disease affected cattle. At Sadri in Pali district, however, festivity continues – a two-day Camel Cheese Festival was held on November 23 and 24, 2022. Visitors spent time with the camel herds and their Raika, drank camel-milk tea with the herders and then returned to lunch at the Kumbhalgarh Camel Dairy, from where the Kumbhalgarh Fort is visible, to taste camel cheese. The Raika herders have been facing a tough time – camels are no longer used as much for transport or agriculture in Rajasthan. The animals have limited utility, but their milk is prized. Camel Charisma, the dairy at Kumbhalgarh, sends camel milk across the country to people who use it in therapy – for autistic children, improved blood sugar levels, or even to treat cancer. It is believed that the health benefits of the camel milk is because the animals

As polls approach, electorate 'failing to realise': Gujarat model is in a shambles

By DN Rath*  Gujarat assembly elections, scheduled to be held on 1 and 5 December 2022, is viewed by many as dress rehearsal for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. When the suffering people have been pointing towards redressal of some local issues like absence of cleanliness, sewage problem, shortage of water supply, troubles created by stray cattle, insufficiency of streetlights, etc., it is evident that they are not fully aware that assembly elections are being fought on ideological standpoints and policy decisions. Nor is there the realisation that the state is in a shambles and the much-trumpeted ‘Gujarat model’ of development has proved to be a hoax. Like other states, the people of Gujarat are also back-broken by steep rise in prices to the tune of 400% in last 20 years. It is not that the government cannot control the spurt in prices if it so wants. Apart from the fact that price rise is an inevitability in a capitalist economy, artificial shortage triggered by massive hoarding, b

Shedding Hindu-Hindi-Hindustan? New Modi-Shah love for Tamil Nadu 'ignores' Periyar

By Sandeep Pandey*   The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) or the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) have long argued for ‘Hindu-Hindi-Hindustan’, which into recent years has translated into a crisper English expression: ‘One Nation-One Religion-One Language’. Given this backdrop, it is curious that the BJP government has organised the Kashi Tamil Sangamam in Varanasi, the Prime Minister’s constituency. Why did the BJP and RSS feel the need for such an event? All Narendra Modi events are highly publicised and have multiple political objectives. It is never an innocuous religious/cultural event as it may appear from the face of it. Afterall, RSS calls itself a cultural organisation, but has never ceased to surprise us with its political designs. Tamil Nadu has a long history of opposing imposition of Hindi by Union governments. Periyar EV Ramasamy had opposed the idea of compulsory teaching in Hindi as far back as in 1937. The 1960s witnessed violent protests against Hindi in which a number

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

GM mustard not swadeshi, it's a patent of MNC Bayer, GoI 'misleading' SC: Modi told

Counterview Desk  In a representation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as many as 42 farmers’ organisations though their representatives , backed by senior scientists and experts, have said that the Government of India (GoI) should stop misleading the Supreme Court “with untrue and incorrect” statements on GM mustard. Insisting that India does not need unsafe GM mustard, in their representation, they urged the Supreme Court to order immediate uprooting of GM mustard crop in various locations. The representation comes even as a penal of experts, coming down heavily on the GoI for refusing to see how in less than a week’s time the pollen from GM mustard will “start contaminating” non-GM mustard fields with transgenes, including male sterility and herbicide tolerant traits. Alleging that the GoI is actively misleading the Supreme Court with untrue and incorrect statements on GM mustard, Kavitha Kuruganti of the Coalition for a GM-Free India said, “We can list at least five areas where Gov

BJP poll gimmick? Bilkis Bano rape case 'pardon' vs Rajiv assassins' release

By Sandeep Pandey*  Supreme Court has released six convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. This was bound to happen as earlier AG Perarivalan was released in the same case, setting a precedent. Even though four of them are Sri Lankans but a popular Tamil sentiment favoured the release of these convicts which is why Tamil political parties supported this and resolutions were passed by different governments in Tamil Nadu to his effect.  Rajiv Gandhi paid the price of sending Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka where it got entangled with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and eventually the whole operation ended up is a fiasco.  However, most importantly Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi and probably Rahul too do not have any objections to the release of these convicts. In fact, Sonia Gandhi played an important role in getting the death sentence of the only lady among the convicts Nalini commuted to life term through the Tamil Nadu Governor. Priyanka visited Nalini in Vellore Jail and

Never-ending saga of sin tax: What if murder is taxed at Rs 1 crore, rape at Rs 5 crore?

By Moses Raj GS, Sangeetha Thomas*  What should have ended by June 30, 2022 as a 5 year experiment has resurfaced. The government has extended the levy of GST compensation cess by another 4 years till March 31, 2026. This cess, dubbed as the sin tax imposed on sin(ful) goods, is double the highest slab on indirect taxes. But only a few pay for it and the majority benefit, unendingly. The year 2017 is a landmark year for indirect taxes. With the grand idea of ‘One Nation, One Tax’ as a fiscal slogan subsuming all State based taxes such as octroi /entry tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), sales tax, taxes on lottery, betting and gambling, luxury tax, purchase tax, entertainment tax, property tax, professional tax and central sales tax into a single framework of Goods and Services Tax (GST) changed the contours of revenue collection. Complicating it further, India, with each State having its own size and revenue problems, has the most complex and highly centralised indirect tax structure in the w

Demand to withdraw 'anti-environment, anti-adivasi' forest conservation rules 2022

By Gopinath Majhi*  The Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), Odisha, a coalition of adivasis and forest dwellers’ organisations, has sent a memorandum to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) raising serious concerns over Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022, notified by the Centre on June 29.  Contending that recent amendments and a host of executive orders/guidelines issued by the ministry undermine and dilute the FRA and threaten the rights of adivasis and forest dwellers, CSD demands that the 2022 FC Rules should be rescinded forthwith. Demanding withdrawal of such anti-people and anti-environment rules CSD Odisha organised a protest Dharana in front of State Assembly today on 25th November 2022 and submitted memorandums to the Hon’ble Governor of Odisha, Chief Secretary and Commissioner-cum-Secretary, ST & SC Development Department for conveying our concerns against the FC Rules 2022 to the Central Government for its withdrawal. The memorandums w