Bihar Assembly adjourned after Opposition calls for discussion on Agnipath scheme
Congress also staged protests in several states against the recruitment initiative.
The Bihar Assembly on Monday was adjourned for the day after the Opposition leaders demanded a discussion on the Agnipath scheme, PTI reported.
Several members of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) and Congress shouted slogans in the Well demanding acceptance of their adjournment motion against the scheme.
Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha said that the Agnipath scheme will not be discussed as it was not related to the Assembly, according to the Hindustan Times.
Under the Agnipath scheme, citizens aged between 17-and-a-half and 21 years will be eligible to apply. Of these recruits, 25% will be eligible to apply as regular personnel after they complete their four-year service.
Since June 15, violent protests have taken place in several states against the new military recruitment plan. At many places, agitators burnt and vandalised railway property, blocked train tracks and clashed with officials. In Bihar alone, 60 train coaches have been burnt and property worth about Rs 700 crore has been damaged.
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.
In a bid to contain the outrage, the Union government has increased the age limit for recruitment in the armed forces under the scheme to 23 years for this year. It has also announced a 10% reservation for Agnipath recruits in the jobs offered by the home and defence ministries.
On Monday, as proceedings of the Bihar Assembly began at 11 am, the Opposition demanded that the adjournment motion of RJD leader Lalit Yadav and Congress’ Ajeet Sharma be accepted right away, PTI reported.
They said that the Agnipath scheme was related to the national security and so it must be discussed.
Sinha initially said that the matter can be raised after the Question Hour but subsequently allowed the two leaders to read out the text of the motion to pacify the Opposition.
Some members of the Opposition also shouted slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to PTI.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary said that the behaviour of the Opposition was unruly.
“An adjournment motion is either accepted or rejected outright,” Chaudhary said. “You [Speaker] extended them a rare favour by allowing them to read out the text.”
Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishor Prasad said raising slogans against the prime minister sets a bad precedent in the House.
Congress stages protest in all states
Meanwhile, the Congress on Monday staged protests against the Agnipath Scheme in several parts of the country.
Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil said that the scheme should be withdrawn immediately and that the party stands with the youth of the country.
“At a time when China has entered our borders... this [Agnipath scheme] is like playing with national security,” Gohil said, according to PTI. “I demand from the prime minister that Agnipath be withdrawn and all those ministers or BJP spokespersons who say that the Agnipath scheme is good, they should get their sons and daughters recruited under the Agnipath scheme.