New CDS appointment soon, 'Agnipath' armed forces recruitment scheme unveiled
The post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)—which has been lying vacant since the tragic death of General Bipin Rawat in December last year—will be soon filled. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said India's next CDS will be appointed soon and the process for the same was underway. Meanwhile, the Centre has also unveiled Agnipath—a new short-term recruitment scheme for the armed forces.
- To recall, General Rawat took charge as the first CDS of the Indian Armed Forces on January 1, 2020.
- The post was created to strengthen India's military prowess by bringing synergy to the functioning of the three services and being the single-point military advisor to the defence minister.
- The CDS is also responsible for the optimal utilization of the resources of the armed forces.
Speaking at a media briefing on the rollout of the Agnipath recruitment scheme for the armed forces, Singh said, "The appointment of the CDS will be made soon. The process for it is underway." The government recently amended the service rules of the forces, making any serving or retired three-star officer under the age of 62 years eligible for appointment to the CDS post.
Earlier, only four-star officers were eligible for the post. Now, all three-star and four-star officers, including lieutenant general, air marshal, and vice-admiral, from the three services will be eligible for consideration. However, the amended rules indicate that recently retired chiefs of services will not be considered for the top post. The changes were recently made to the Army, Air Force, and Navy Acts.
General Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, and 11 armed forces personnel died on December 8, 2021, after their military chopper crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu. He was on his way to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington to attend an event.
Meanwhile, the Union Cabinet on Tuesday cleared the Agnipath recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the armed forces. Singh said, under the scheme, nearly 46,000 youths would be recruited this year and they would be called "Agniveers." Calling the scheme a "transformative initiative," Singh said, "The scheme will increase employment opportunities and aim to create a youthful profile of the armed forces."
The "Agniveers" will be entitled to a salary package of Rs. 4.76 lakh in the first year and will get up to Rs. 6.92 lakh in the fourth and final year, said reports. They will also get a non-contributory life insurance cover of Rs. 48 lakh for their tenure in the Indian Armed Forces. However, they won't be entitled to gratuity and pensionary benefits.
"Agniveers" will also get a "Seva Nidhi" of approximately Rs. 11.71 lakh that would aid them to pursue their future dreams. It will also be exempted from income tax. After the four-year service stint, they can contribute to the nation-building process and each "Agniveer" will be given a certificate for the skills attained by them that can also be a part of their resume.