Amid widespread protests against the Agnipath defence recruitment scheme, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday said the PSUs under his housing and petroleum ministries are working on hiring 'Agniveers' after their four-year service in the armed forces.
He also slammed the Opposition for spreading "misinformation" about the new military recruitment model, and said the government will educate the youth about the Agnipath scheme.
Puri defended the Agnipath, saying it is a brilliant scheme.
"This is a great scheme. I can say this on record that many PSUs under my ministries are already working on (hiring) trained manpower (Agniveers)... their skills can be utilised in PSUs," he said while speaking at the 'What India Thinks Today Global Summit' organised by the TV9 media group.
Unveiling the scheme on Tuesday, the government said youths between the ages of 17-and-a-half and 21 years would be inducted for a four-year tenure while 25 per cent of them will be subsequently inducted for regular service.
The upper age limit was raised to 23 years on Thursday as the protests against the new model for enrolment of soldiers into the Army, Navy and Air Force spread.
In a bid to assuage concerns over the 'Agnipath' scheme, the home ministry on Saturday announced that 10 per cent of all vacancies in the central paramilitary forces and the Assam Rifles will be reserved for 'Agniveers'. It also announced a three-year relaxation in the upper age limit.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also approved a proposal to reserve 10 per cent of the job vacancies in the defence ministry for 'Agniveers' who meet requisite eligibility criteria.
The monthly salary of an 'Agniveer' in the first year of employment would be Rs 30,000 and the in-hand amount would be Rs 21,000 as Rs 9,000 would go to a corpus with an equal contribution from the government.
Subsequently, the monthly salary in the second, third and fourth year will be Rs 33,000, Rs 36,500 and Rs 40,000, respectively.
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