Anand Mahindra backs Agnipath scheme, says soldiers will be 'eminently employable'
Anand Mahindra, Chairman of the Mahindra Group, has expressed his sadness at the riots against the Indian military's new Agnipath recruitment scheme. He that he believes the scheme will create "eminently employable" individuals once they complete their military duties, and that the Mahindra Group would be open to recruiting these candidates.
The Agnipath scheme is a new military recruitment drive aimed at enlisting young soldiers for a period of five years. These soldiers would not be eligible for a pension, but would be eligible to apply to join the army at the end of their initial tenure.
The scheme was introduced in response to public pressure for the re-opening of military recruitment, as well as the economic pressure of providing ex-soldiers with pensions. Army recruitment has been stalled in India since the onslaught of COVID-19, while new data suggests that the majority of the Army's expenses are spent on providing pensions.
However, this new scheme, and particularly the removal of pensions, has led to riots in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Haryana.
In response to this criticism, the government and proponents of the Agnipath drive have claimed that the skills and discipline taught through the programme will increase the employability of these soldiers. Mahindra is among the most high-profile individuals from the private sector to support this idea.
Anand Mahindra believes that the posting will provide candidates with "leadership, teamwork, and physical training", which are all useful traits for roles across the corporate industry. In particular, Mahindra noted opportunities "covering the full spectrum from operations to administration and supply chain management".