By | 03 Aug 2022 at 7:54 PM

Almost a million applicants, including over 82,000 women, have registered for recruitment into the Indian Navy under the Agnipath model for short-term induction of soldiers into the three services, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The navy received 9,55,000 applications under the new model during the registration period (July 1-July 31), said one of the officials cited above, asking not to be named. He said the navy aspirants include 82,200 women. These candidates will compete for 3,000 navy jobs. Those recruited under the new model will be called Agniveers.

Earlier, almost 7,50,000 candidates registered themselves for recruitment into the Indian Air Force under the same recruitment scheme. These candidates will also compete for 3,000 jobs in the air force. The army’s registration process is still on.

The navy is the only service recruiting women in the personnel below officer rank (PBOR) cadre in the first phase of the Agnipath recruitment. Some of the women sailors, who will be inducted into the navy as Agniveers early next year, are likely to be deployed on India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant, the largest warship to be built in the country and set to be commissioned into the navy later this month, as reported by HT.

The armed forces will recruit 46,000 Agniveers this year including 40,000 in the army. The navy and IAF are happy with the enthusiastic response to Agnipath, said a second official.

India had on June 14 announced the new scheme replacing the legacy system of recruitment to lower the age profile of the armed forces, ensure a fitter military and create a technically skilled war fighting force capable of meeting future challenges. It sparked widespread protests and forced a concerted outreach by the government to scotch apprehensions about the scheme.

Last month, three Opposition MPs walked out of a meeting of the defence standing committee meeting after their demand to discuss the Agnipath recruitment model was rejected, as reported by HT. Congress leaders KC Venugopal and Uttam Reddy and the Bahujan Samaj Party’s Danish Ali wanted the Agnipath scheme to be discussed on the grounds that it was the most important issue before the defence sector, but panel chairman Jual Oram stressed that Agnipath was not a subject on the annual agenda of the panel, and asked the Opposition lawmakers to raise it in the House.

The Agnipath scheme seeks to recruit soldiers for only four years, with a provision to retain 25% of them in the regular cadre for 15 years after another round of screening.