The Agnipath
protests have set nearly the whole country ablaze. On Friday, one person died
in Telangana as protestors set trains on fire. Violent protests have been
reported from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh. As
armed forces aspirants rage over the short-term service, the Indian government
has announced more tweaks to the scheme to win them over.

The Indian
government announced Saturday that Agniveers – the soldiers recruited under the
Agnipath scheme – will have an advantage while applying for Central Armed Police
Forces (CAPFs) and Assam Rifles. The Ministry of Home Affairs announced that
Agniveers will have 10% reservation in CAPF jobs and will also enjoy a
three-year age relaxation.

This is the second
change made to the Agnipath scheme which was announced earlier this week. First,
the Centre announced a one-time change in the maximum age and raised it to 23
from 21 for the year 2022. This was done because no recruitments had taken
place into the armed forces for two consecutive years.

The Agniveer
scheme seeks to hire people in the ages of 17.5 to 21 and employ them in the
Indian Armed Forces for four-year tours of duty. After these four years, 75% of
the recruits will be let go with a lumpsum pay but no pension or medical
benefits. The remaining 25% will continue working for a minimum 15 years.

At core of the
protests is the question that what will these Agniveers do after their
four-year tour of duty is over. It is to address this concern that the Indian
government has announced a quota for Agniveers in CAPF recruitment. Earlier,
the government had said Agniveers will have an advantage while applying to the paramilitary

India’s paramilitary
services are in urgent need of people. There are 73,000 vacant posts in five
wings of the paramilitary forces – Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve
Police Force (CRPF), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Shastra Seema Bal
(SSB), and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). There are 73,219 posts
vacant in CAPFs and Assam Rifles and 18,124 posts vacant in police forces in
the Union Territories, according to Home Ministry data.