‘One-time’ change to raise Agnipath age limit to 23

The Center today raised the age limit for the ‘Agnipath’ military recruitment scheme to 23 from 21 amid nationwide protests against the new model of enrolment of soldiers. The decision has been taken as no recruitment has taken place in the last two years, the government said in a release.

“​Cognizant of the fact that it has not been possible to undertake the recruitment during the last two years, the Government has decided that a one-time waiver shall be granted for the proposed recruitment cycle for 2022,” the government said.

The violence erupted on Tuesday after the government announced an overhaul of recruitment for India’s 1.38 million-strong armed forces, looking to bring down the average age of personnel and reduce pension expenditure. The protests have spread to 10 states, including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Delhi.

The new system will bring in men and women between the ages of 17-and-a-half and 21 for a four-year tenure, with only a quarter retained for longer periods.

Previously, soldiers have been recruited by the army, navy and air force separately and they enter service for up to 17 years for the lowest ranks.

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