Agnipath aspirants have to pledge that they did not take part in any violence, arson or protests against the new military recruitment plan, the defence ministry said on Sunday, NDTV reported.

Since Wednesday, protests have taken place in several states against the Agnipath scheme, which provides for short-term recruitment into the armed forces. The scheme was announced by the government on Tuesday.

In Bihar alone, 60 train coaches and property worth about Rs 700 crore have been burnt in the past four days.

The protestors are demanding permanent recruitment under the regular process as well as pension and other retirement benefits that are not a part of the Agnipath scheme.

On Sunday, Lieutenant General Anil Puri, additional secretary, the department of military affairs, held a briefing with the top officers from the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.

He said that the Indian Army’s foundation is based on discipline, ANI reported. There is no space for arson and vandalism, he added.

“Every individual will give a certificate that they were not part of protest or vandalism,” Puri said. “Police verification is 100%, no one can join without that.”

If aspirants are found to have first information reports registered against them, then the defence ministry will not recruit them, Puri clarified.

“We had not anticipated the recent violence over this scheme,” he added. “There is no place for indiscipline in the armed forces.”

He also said that there will be no roll back of the Agnipath scheme, ANI reported. “It is the only progressive step to make the country young,” Puri said. “Why should it be rolled back?”

The lieutenant general added that the Centre did not offer concessions for those who will serve under the scheme because of widespread protests, but that they were already planned.

Schedule for recruitment

Meanwhile, registration for the first batch of Agniveers in the Indian Air Force will start from June 24, said Air Marshal Suraj Kumar Jha, reported ANI.

“From July 24, Phase I of the online examination process would start,” Jha said. “The first batch would be enrolled by December and training would commence by December 30.”

In the Navy, the first batch of recruits will join the training programme by November 21, said Vice Admiral Dinesh Tripathi. Both men and women will be recruited under the scheme. Guidelines for recruitment in the Navy will be published on June 25, PTI reported.

Draft notification for the recruitment plan in the Army will be issued on Monday, said Lieutenant General Bansi Ponappa, reported PTI.

Recruitments will take place across the country in August, September and October, he added.

“The first batch comprising 25,000 personnel will join the training programme in the first and second week of December,” Ponappa said. “The second lot of recruits will join their training around February 23, 2023.”

Agniveers will also get a compensation of Rs 1 crore if they die in service of the nation, Puri said.

“In the next four to five years, our intake [of soldiers] will be 50,000 to 60,000 and will increase to 90,000 to one lakh subsequently,” Puri added. “We have started [recruitment] small at 46,000 to analyse the scheme and to build up the infrastructure capacity.”