In a significant step, the Central government has declared 10 per cent reservation for ex-Agniveers in vacancies within the Border Security Force (BSF) as well as relaxed upper age-limit norms depending on whether they are part of the first batch or subsequent batches.
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) made the announcement through a notification issued on Thursday in exercise of the powers conferred by clauses (b) and (c) of sub- section (2) of section 141 of the Border Security Force Act, 1968 (47 of 1968). Using the powers, the Central Government declared to make the rules further to amend the Border Security Force, General Duty Cadre (Non-Gazetted) Recruitment Rules, 2015, namely Border Security Force, General Duty Cadre (Non-Gazetted) (Amendment) Recruitment Rules, 2023.
Amending the Border Security Force, General Duty Cadre (Non-Gazetted) Recruitment Rules, 2015 with effect from March 9, the Central government announced that against the part relating to the post of Constable, notes shall be inserted relaxing the upper age limit for ex-Agniveers by up to five years for candidates belonging to the maiden batch of ex-Agniveers and up to three years in case of all other batches of ex-Agniveers.
Another note that was made part of the Border Security Force, General Duty Cadre (Non-Gazetted) (Amendment) Recruitment Rules, 2023. It provides for exemption of ex-Agniveers from taking the physical proficiency test.
“Ten per cent of the vacancies shall be reserved for Ex-Agniveers,” pointed another amendment to the rules.
The MHA, mindful of criticism of the Agniveer scheme that provides for absorption of only 25 per cent of the Agniveers in the defence forces upon completion of their four-year stint even as the remaining 75 per cent are demobilised, had announced soon after that 10 per cent vacancies in Central para-military forces and Assam Rifles shall be reserved for demobilised Agniveers.
Upper age limit was also relaxed for first batch of ex-Agniveers by up to five years and for the subsequent batches for three years. In addition, the ex-Agniveers would be exempted the physical proficiency test.
The specified age limit for recruitment to Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) is 18-23 years. So any person who is enrolled as Agniveer at 17-22 years, can be recruited into CAPFs till attaining 26 years of age.
However, for ones who join the armed forces as part of the first batch of Agniveers at 23 years, the maximum age for enrolment under Agnipath, the enhance five-year upper age limit relaxation will still leave them a year after completion of the four year-stint, to seek recruitment into the CAPFs and Assam Rifles.
As per an official release of MHA, the first batch of Agniveers can avail of 10 per cent job quota in CAPFs and Assam Rifles till the age of 28 years.
The Home Ministry decision for absorption of Agniveers into CAPFs is significant in that it incentivises the choice of youths for a short career in the armed forces, by offering them a long-term, follow-up career in the Central para-military forces and Assam Rifles. It also benefits the CAPFs and Assam Rifles in equal measure by helping them fill up the more than 73,000 vacancies they currently have between them.
The move will benefit the CAPFs in getting trained personnel at the pre-recruitment stage itself, saving them the usual time and training costs before the new recruits can take up field duties.