July 23, 2022
Today’s protests in India are notorious for vandalism and destruction, which always puts trains and automobiles in the spotlight and can occasionally lead to riots. In light of the aforementioned, Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav informed the Rajya Sabha on Friday that Indian Railways lost Rs 259.44 crores as a result of damage and destruction to its assets during protests against the Agnipath Scheme.On June 14 of this year, the Indian government and the heads of the three military forces announced the Agnipath programme.The Minister further stated that “a separate data regarding the amount of refund granted to passengers due to disruption of rail services on account of public disorder consequent to agitation like those held after the launch of Agneepath scheme is not maintained” in a written response to questions posed by Congress leader Akhilesh Prasad Singh. When the Congress MP questioned whether it was true that protests against the execution of the Agnipath project had resulted in a significant loss of railroad property, the minister responded.
The Minister added that according to the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution, the police and public order are state matters.Youth between the ages of 17.5 and 21 will be engaged in the programme as “Agniveers” for a service length of 4 years, which includes a training phase. On the basis of merit, desire, and physical fitness, only 25% of the Agniveers will be maintained or re-enlisted in the regular cadre after four years. After then, they will continue to serve for a total of 15 more years. It’s unlikely that the first four years, which were completed under a contract, will be taken into account when determining the ultimate pensionary benefits.The remaining 75% of “Agniveers” would be demobilised with an exit package called “Seva Nidhi” worth Rs. 11–12 lakh, which will be paid for in part by their monthly payments. They will also get skill certifications and bank loans to support their second professions.
By Subhechcha Ganguly