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Air Force to begin recruitment under Agnipath scheme from June 24 as protests continue

 The Air Force will begin recruitment under the Agnipath scheme from June 24 even as protests continue.

In a one-time waiver, the Central government has increased the upper age limit for the Agnipath scheme from 21 to 23 years. (Photo: Representational/PTI)

The Indian Air Force is set to become the first service to kick off selection under the new Agnipath recruitment model. The process of selecting 'agniveers' will begin from June 24.

In an address, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said, "Happy to announce that the upper age limit (for recruitment) has been revised to 23 years. This will benefit the youth. The recruitment process for Indian Air Force will begin on June 24."

This comes amid spiralling protests over Centre's new army recruitment scheme in various part of the country, including Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Incidentally, Covid had halted the Army's recruitment for over two years. In 2019-2020, the Army recruited jawans and there has been no entry since then.

On the other hand, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force had both recruited in the last two years respectively.

The Centre on Tuesday unveiled the Agnipath scheme - a new short-term recruitment policy for Indian youth to serve in the armed forces. The scheme will allow youngsters aged 17.5 to 21 to be inducted into any of the three services of the Army as “agniveers” for a period of four years. After protests, Centre has announced a relaxation in the upper age limit from 21 to 23 for 2022.

The defence job seekers have voiced concern about their next step as, after the completion of four years, only 25 per cent of the soldiers recruited through the scheme will be retained to serve a full term. The youth recruited through the Agnipath scheme and not absorbed will be relieved without pension benefits.

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