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Navy Chief R Hari Kumar reacts to violent protests against Agnipath scheme

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On Friday, Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar termed the Agniveer model as the single biggest human resources management transformation in the Indian military and said that protests in parts of the country over the newly launched Agnipath scheme are happening due to misinformation and misunderstanding.

“I didn’t anticipate any protests like this. We worked on the Agnipath scheme for almost a year and a half…,” the Navy chief told ANI. Calling the Agnipath scheme “transformational”, the Navy chief admiral said it is “a made-in-India and a made-for-India” scheme.

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“The Agnipath scheme is a transformational scheme. It is a made-in-India and a made-for-India scheme. No, I didn’t anticipate protests like this. I want to tell those protesting that do not be violent and remain peaceful,” Admiral R Hari Kumar said.

As protests broke out in parts of the country by protestors demanding a rollback of the scheme, the Navy chief Admiral said, “I want to tell people to not protest and not be violent. They should understand the scheme and remain peaceful. This is a great opportunity for the youth to serve the country.”

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Commenting further on the ongoing protest, the Admiral said that the agitation is taking place due to “misinformation and misunderstanding” of the scheme. “It is a scheme of which I was part of the initial planning team and worked on it for almost a year and a half. And, now we see the scheme coming to its completion and introduction into the armed forces,” he added.

The Agnipath Scheme for recruitment to Armed Forces launched by the three service chiefs earlier this week in the presence of defence minister Rajnath Singh has sparked protests in many parts of the country. 

In the wake of protests, the Centre revised the upper age limit for Agniveers, the youth recruited under the Agnipath scheme, extending it to 23 years as a one-time measure. On extending the age limit for the first recruitment cycle, the Navy chief said, “We wanted to allow those youth who will otherwise miss out and are between 21 to 23. we are giving a chance to them to become part of the Agnipath Scheme and contribute to serving the country by becoming an Agniveer in the armed forces”.

On June 14, the Union Cabinet approved the Agnipath recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the Armed Forces. Youth selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers and will serve in the Armed Forces for four years. 

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