The number of servicemen who were inducted into central government jobs after their retirement from the armed forces has drastically decreased from 10,982 in 2015 to 2,983 in 2021, according to data presented by the Centre in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt provided the numbers in response to a question by 14 members of the Opposition parties.

According to the data, 2,322 former servicemen were recruited into central government jobs in 2014, and the number substantially increased to 10,982 in 2015, but declined gradually over the next five years.

The number of retired armed forces officials recruited in central government jobs was 9,086 in 2016, 5,638 in 2017, 4,175 in 2018, 2,968 in 2019, and 2,584 in 2020.

In 2021, the number slightly went up to 2,983, according to government data.

The numbers hold significance as the Centre and various state governments have promised preference in giving jobs to individuals who do not end up with permanent recruitment after their stint under the Agnipath scheme

Under this scheme, announced last month, citizens aged between 17 and a half and 21 years will be eligible to apply for a four-year service in the military. However, of these recruits, only 25% will be eligible to apply as regular personnel after they complete their four-year service.

On June 18, the Union home and defence ministries had announced a 10% job quota in the two departments for those who do not get selected for permanent recruitment in the armed forces.

The decision was made amid violent protests across the country against the short-term recruitment scheme to the armed forces. Protestors demanded permanent recruitment under the regular process, along with pension and other retirement benefits that are not part of the Agnipath scheme.