Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann speaking in the Assembly on Thursday

Chief


DW BUREAU / Chandigarh The Punjab Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution against the Centre's Agnipath defence recruitment scheme. Two BJP legislators Ashwani Sharma and Jangi Lal Mahajan opposed the resolution.he 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. Vehemently opposing Agnipath, Mann said this scheme was against the country's youth. Leader of Opposition and Congress legislator Partap Singh Bajwa demanded that the Agnipath scheme should be withdrawn. Akali MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali supported the resolution and demanded the scheme's roll back. According to the resolution, the House recommends to the state government to take up the matter with the Union government in order to roll back the Agnipath scheme immediately. "The unilateral announcement of the Agnipath scheme by the Government of India has witnessed widespread reactions in all states, including Punjab, " said Mann while reading the resolution. 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 per cent 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 Mann. It must be highlighted that more than one lakh soldiers from Punjab serve in the Armed Forces of the nation and many of them give the supreme sacrifice of their life on the borders of the country every year, he said. 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," said Mann. The scheme also has the propensity to weaken the long standing spirit de corps of the Armed Forces, said Mann while moving the resolution. Protests had erupted in various parts of the country after the Centre unveiled the Agnipath scheme to recruit youngsters aged between 17-and-a-half and 21 years in the 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 said in the Assembly that his government will bring a resolution against the Agnipath scheme, asserting that the Centre'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. 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. (editor@dailyworld.in)




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