V Muraleedharan | Photo: PTI
Thiruvananthapuram: The youth protesting against the Agnipath scheme are those who are unaware of its benefits to them as well as the Indian armed forces, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said on Sunday and urged them to withdraw from their agitation.
Speaking to reporters here, Muraleedharan said the youth need not be apprehensive about the scheme for the recruitment of youths aged between 17 and a half and 21 in the Army, Navy and the Air Force, largely on a four-year short-term contractual basis.
He said youngsters were protesting against it without knowing about it.
The Union Minister further said that the Narendra Modi government at the Centre has not been found lacking where the future of the youth, welfare of armed forces and national security was concerned.
He urged the youth protesting against the scheme to withdraw from it.
His statement comes a day after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urged Modi to put the scheme on hold saying the "protests erupting" against it was a clear indication of the sentiments of India's youngsters.
On June 16 night, the Centre had raised the upper age limit for recruitment under the 'Agnipath' scheme to 23 years for 2022 as protests against it intensified.
On Saturday, June 18, the central government also announced several incentives including reserving 10 per cent vacancies in its paramilitary and the Defence Ministry for Agnipath retirees and said it will look into any grievance about the new military recruitment scheme "with an open mind'.
Those recruited under the scheme will be known as 'Agniveers'.
After the completion of the four-year tenure, 25 per cent of the recruits from each batch will be offered regular service. PTI