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Rajnath praises Agnipath scheme at Parliamentary panel’s meet; Opposition not convinced

Army Chief Manoj Pande, Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar, and Other senior officials of the tri-services were also present at the meeting.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today briefed the Opposition on the salient features of the Agnipath scheme at a meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Defence and sought to dispel their misgivings about the scheme for recruitment in the armed forces.

The Opposition MPs, however, were not convinced and some of them are believed to have demanded its rollback. Twelve PMs, including four from the BJP, were present.

MPs who attended the meeting included Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Saugata Roy from TMC; Supriya Sule from NCP; Rajni Patil, Shakti Singh Gohil, and Manish Tewari from the Congress; AD Singh from the RJD and Ranjanben Bhatt and Ram Bhai Mokhariya from the BJP.

Emerging from the meeting held at the Parliament House Annexe, Rajnath said the meeting was good at which senior Defence Ministry officials gave to committee members a detailed presentation on the scheme, that recently sparked violence at many places in the country.

The opposition members are learnt to have dismissed the government’s contention that a huge number of applications have been received for recruitment after the scheme was implemented last month. They claimed that “huge unemployment” in the country was the reason for a large number of applications.

“The Opposition said that the fact that people have applied in large numbers for the scheme is significant as there is huge unemployment in the country and asked why the government was not addressing it?” sources were quoted as saying by ANI.

“The Army is a strategic unit and it is responsible for the security and safety of the country so if a person works in the unit for four years and then leaves, what is the assurance that he or she will not compromise the security of the country. A classic example is what happened to Japanese former PM Shinzo Abe who was shot by ex-military personnel,” added sources.

Six members of the Opposition, including Professor Saugata Roy, Sudip Bandyopadhyay, AD Singh, Supriya Sule, Rajni Patil, and Shakti Singh are understood to have signed a memorandum that was submitted to Rajnath.

Army Chief Manoj Pande, Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar, and Other senior officials of the tri-services were also present at the meeting.

Meanwhile Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, in a tweet, wrote what he called some truths about Prime Minister Narendra Modi. ”He (Modi) is scared of China, hides from the people, only protects his own image, demoralises the Army and compromises the nation’s security,” he wrote in Hindi.