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Over 6,000 Agnipath Recruits Face Joining Delay due to ‘Lingering’ Police Verification: Report

One-third of recruits, numbering 6,277, have found themselves in limbo due to the lingering verification process; only 12,572 recruits have been able to undergo the "attestation ceremony.
Agnipath Yojana

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New Delhi: A significant portion of the first batch of recruits enrolled under the Agnipath scheme has not yet been formally inducted into the Indian Army due to pending police verifications, says a report published in The Tribune. The delay has been blamed on bureaucratic hurdles, with police verification procedures being held up in recruits' home districts across the country. 

According to the report, the Agnipath scheme, aimed at bolstering the Army's manpower, saw its inaugural batch of 18,849 Agniveers successfully complete their training in mid-June this year. 

However, a “staggering one-third” of these recruits, numbering 6,277, have found themselves in limbo due to the lingering verification process. According to top sources cited by The Tribune, within the military establishment, only 12,572 recruits have been able to undergo the "attestation ceremony," a pivotal step marking the completion of training and formal induction into the Army.

Regimental training centres, recognising the gravity of the situation, have corresponded with the Army Headquarters, highlighting the pressing issue of pending verifications, the report added. 

The police verification process, deeply rooted in colonial-era practices, involves meticulous scrutiny of a recruit's personal background, family associations, and connections. “This comprehensive vetting process has led to an overwhelming backlog, particularly exacerbated by the disruption in recruitment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020,” the report said. 

Due to the break in recruitment during the pandemic and the lockdown, a staggering 1.18 lakh troop vacancies had accumulated within the Army. This magnified the challenge further. 

The Agnipath scheme heralded as a solution to this shortage, commenced its operations in June 2022. The first batch, which concluded training this year, underwent a period of training varying between 24 to 31 weeks, depending on their designated branch. 

Addressing this issue, the Department of Military Affairs, led by the Chief of Defence Staff, said it had taken proactive measures. A letter has been sent to the Union Home Secretary, accompanied by a comprehensive state-wise list of recruits awaiting verification, said the report, adding that the letter seeks collaboration with state authorities to expedite the cumbersome verification process. 

Moreover, The Adjutant General of the Army has personally engaged with the Union Home Secretary, underscoring the urgency of the situation, The Tribune report said. 

At the grassroots level, Army training centres and recruiting offices have intensified their efforts to fast-track the verification process.

Sources familiar with the matter attributed the backlog to a mismatch between the traditional pace of verification procedures and the accelerated training timeline introduced by the Agnipath scheme. 

In contrast to the previous training period, which spanned nine to 18 months, the newly introduced Agnipath scheme employs a streamlined training duration ranging from 24 to 31 weeks.

Unfortunately, this rapid shift has proved to be a stumbling block for the police authorities to maintain their verification pace, said the report.

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