The Centre on Saturday announced a 10% reservation for Agnipath recruits in the jobs offered by the home and defence ministry. Recruits to the Centre’s newly-announced Agnipath scheme will be called Agniveers.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the reservation will be implemented in the Indian Coast Guard and defence civilian posts, and all the 16 defence Public Sector Undertakings.

“This reservation would be in addition to existing reservation for ex-servicemen,” Singh said. “Necessary amendments to relevant recruitment rules will be undertaken to implement these provisions.”

Earlier in the day, the home ministry announced reservations for Agniveers in the Central Armed Police Forces and the Assam Rifles paramilitary force.

The decision by the government came amid violent protests across the country against the short-term recruitment scheme to the armed forces. One person died in Secunderabad after police opened fire at protestors who resorted to arson at the city’s railway station.

The Agnipath scheme was announced by the government on Tuesday. Under this scheme, citizens aged between 17 and a half and 21 years will be eligible to apply for a four-year service in the military. Of these recruits, 25% will be eligible to apply as regular personnel after they complete their four-year service.

Protests erupted against the decision as job aspirants demanded permanent recruitment under the regular process, pension and other retirement benefits, which are not part of the Agnipath scheme.

Earlier today, the home ministry also announced a three-year age relaxation for Agniveers who want to join the Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles after completing their Agnipath service. Currently, the maximum age limit for recruitment in the two forces is 25.

For the first batch of recruits, the age relaxation will be for five years, the home ministry said. This is in line with the Centre’s decision on Thursday to increase the age limit for recruitment under the scheme to 23 years from 21 years in 2022.

Former Union minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had told the Lok Sabha last year that as of September 2020, there were 1,11,093 vacancies in the Central Armed Police Forces. The number included the vacancies in paramilitary forces like the Assam Rifles, the Border Security Force and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police.