New Delhi, July 11
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, accompanied by three service chiefs, today briefed the parliamentary consultative committee on Agnipath even as six Opposition MPs gave a written representation, seeking either a rollback or a scrutiny of the scheme.
Among the six MPs were TMC’s Sudip Bandopadhyay and Saugata Roy; NCP’s Supriya Sule; Congress’ Rajni Patil and Shakti Sinh Gohil; and RJD’s AD Singh. Rajnath Singh gave details of significance of the scheme and allayed concerns of the Opposition about short contracts and potential consequences of sending fully trained men back to civilian life. Sources said the Congress demanded withdrawal of the scheme, citing instances of decorated soldiers, including Param Vir Chakra awardee Capt Bana Singh, questioning the scheme.
It is learnt that Congress members Gohil and Patil also recalled late Chief of Defence Gen Bipin Rawat’s stand of long and secure tenures for soldiers and asked why the government did not consider the advice of the late CDS.
Some Opposition MPs also gave the example of the involvement of an ex-naval recruit in last week’s assassination of former Japanese premiere Shinzo Abe to express concern over four-year contracts for Agniveers.
The government argued that the Agniveers would be employed across various sectors, as already announced by the government.
Of the panel’s 20 members, around 12 attended the meeting.
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