Chandigarh: Led by Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, the Punjab Vidhan Sabha today passed a resolution urging the Union Government to immediately roll back the ‘Agnipath Scheme’ in the larger interest of the country thereby becoming the first state to take this historic initiative.
Moving a resolution in this regard on the floor of the house on Thursday, the Chief Minister read that the unilateral announcement of the Government of India (GoI) to introduce ‘Agnipath scheme’ in the Armed forces has witnessed widespread reactions across the country including Punjab. He read that the Punjab Vidhan Sabha strongly feels that the scheme where youth will be employed in Armed forces only for a period of four years and out of which only 25% will be retained, is neither in the interest of national security nor of the youth of this country. Bhagwant Mann further read that this policy is likely to create dissatisfaction among the youth who wish to serve the Armed forces of the nation throughout their life.
The Chief Minister reminded the house that more than one lakh soldiers from Punjab serve the Armed Forces of the nation and a large number of them sacrifice their lives at altar of their motherland while safeguarding the borders of the country every year. He apprised the house that the youth of Punjab, known across the globe for their traits of valor and courage, consider it a matter of pride and privilege for them to serve their motherland by joining the Indian Armed Forces. However, Bhagwant Mann bemoaned that this scheme has crushed the ambitions of several youths of Punjab who have been aspiring to join the Armed Forces as regular soldiers.
The Chief Minister envisioned that the scheme also has the propensity to weaken the long-standing esprit de corps of the Armed Forces. “The Punjab Vidhan Sabha urges the Union Government to roll back the Agnipath Scheme immediately” read the resolution moved by the Chief Minister.
Meanwhile training his guns against the BJP-led NDA government for this whimsical move, the Chief Minister, while participating in the debate, dared the BJP leaders to enroll their own sons as Agniveers before supporting this anti-youth move. He said that those who are advocating this move should set an example by sending their sons first into the Army under the scheme. Bhagwant Mann said that in this way they will get a fresh young lot of Agniveers who will be saluting their leaders in their office, after a service of four years.
The Chief Minister said that this is an illogical move that will jeopardize national security besides damaging the basic spirit of the Indian Army. Bhagwant Mann advised the BJP leaders to stop building castles in the air to support this irrational move which is detrimental to the interests of the country. He said that this scheme is against the ethos of love and passion of youth for his country and Armed forces.
The Chief Minister asked the BJP leaders to explain how will the country combat its infiltrators and enemies with an ‘Army on rent’. He cautioned them that this move will prove fatal for the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the country in the coming times. Citing examples of how the Indian Army has a glorious tradition of taking care of the families of the martyred soldiers, Bhagwant Mann also asked the BJP leaders to explain that if any soldier, enrolled under the scheme, attains martyrdom during call of duty then who will take care of their families as there is no such provision in it.
The Chief Minister said that he will soon call on the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister to impress upon them for rolling back this move or referring it to experts Defence Committee. He said that all the stakeholders should be taken on board before moving ahead with this dangerous move. “I will meet and convey them that they shall either roll back this scheme or people will force them to do so as in case of the draconian farm laws” added Bhagwant Mann.