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New Delhi: In a symbolic move, the Punjab Assembly on Thursday, June 30 passed a resolution against the Union government’s Agnipath defence recruitment scheme.
Two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators, Ashwani Sharma and Jangi Lal Mahajan, opposed the resolution.
The resolution was moved in the House by chief minister Bhagwant Mann.
Participating in the discussion on the resolution, Mann said he will soon raise the issue of Agnipath scheme with the prime minister and the Union home minister.
According to news reports, Punjab is the only state to have passed a resolution against the scheme in its state assembly.
Vehemently opposing the Agnipath scheme, Mann said this scheme was against the country’s youth.
Leader of Opposition and Congress legislator Partap Singh Bajwa also demanded that the Agnipath scheme should be withdrawn.
Akali MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali supported the resolution and demanded the scheme’s roll back.
The resolution reads, “The unilateral announcement of the Agnipath scheme by the Government of India has witnessed widespread reactions in all states, including Punjab.”
“The scheme also has the propensity to weaken the long-standing esprit de corps of the armed forces. Through this resolution, this House recommends to the state government to take up the matter with the Centre so that the Agnipath scheme is rolled back immediately,” it read.
“The Punjab Vidhan Sabha strongly feels that the scheme where youth will be employed only for a period of four years and only up to 25% will be retained, is neither in the best interests of national security nor of the youth of this country.”
“This policy is likely to create dissatisfaction among the youth who wish to serve the armed forces of the nation for a lifetime,” said the chief minister, while reading the resolution.
“The youth of Punjab consider serving in the Indian Armed Forces as a matter of pride and honour and are renowned for their valour and courage. This scheme has crushed the dreams of many youths of Punjab who have been aspiring to join the Armed Forces as regular soldiers,” he said.
Protests had erupted in various parts of the country after the Union government unveiled the Agnipath scheme to recruit youngsters aged between 17-and-a-half and 21 years in the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, largely on a four-year contractual basis. It later relaxed the upper age limit for this year’s recruitment to 23.
Mann had on Tuesday, June 28 said in the assembly that his government will bring a resolution against the Agnipath scheme, asserting that the Union government’s military recruitment initiative will destroy the basic fabric of the Indian Army.
Earlier, he endorsed the suggestion of Leader of Opposition, Partap Singh Bajwa, of bringing a resolution against the scheme.
(With PTI inputs)