Chandigarh, June 30 (IANS) Led by Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Thursday passed a resolution urging the Union government to roll back the Agnipath scheme in the larger interest of the country.
Moving a resolution in the House, amidst protest by two BJP members, the Chief Minister read that the unilateral announcement of the government of India to introduce the Agnipath scheme in the armed forces has witnessed widespread reactions across the country, including Punjab.
'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 per cent will be retained is neither in the interest of national security nor of the youth of this country,' he said.
Mann further said, '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 and a large number of them sacrifice their lives at the 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 valour and courage, consider it a matter of pride and privilege for them to serve their motherland by joining the armed forces.
However, 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 espirit de corps of the armed forces. 'The 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 at 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 in the Army under the scheme.
Mann said 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 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.
Opposing the resolution, BJP member Ashwani Sharma said it is nothing but doing politics on the security of the country. The scheme was wrongly interpreted. 'It is rather aimed at instilling discipline, skilling and patriotism in the youth,' he said.
Congress Legislature Party leader Partap Singh Bajwa, while supporting the resolution, said the Agnipath scheme is fraught with danger. He said a majority of the retired army officers were opposing the scheme.
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