According to reports, a zonal recruitment officer for the Indian Army has written a letter to the government of Punjab stating that recruitment rallies in the state under the short-term Agnipath scheme could be suspended or transferred to other states, claiming that support was not forthcoming from the local civil administration. The letter suggests that the recruitment rallies could be transferred to other states.
On Wednesday, Bhagwant Mann, the Chief Minister of Punjab, announced that all deputy commissioners have been instructed to provide complete support to the authorities of the Indian Army for the recruitment of Agniveers in the state. After it was reported that a zonal recruitment officer of the Indian Army had written to the government of Punjab stating that recruitment rallies in the state could be suspended or transferred to other states under the short-term Agnipath scheme, Mann made his statement on Twitter. This comes after it was reported that the officer claimed that support was not forthcoming from the local civil administration.
"A directive was issued to each and every Deputy Commissioner requesting that they provide full support to Army Authorities for the recruitment of Agniveers in the state of Punjab. Any sign of laxity will be taken extremely seriously. In a letter that Mann sent in response to a report in The Indian Express on the Indian Army's letter, he stated that "every effort will be made to recruit maximum number of candidates into the army from the state."
"We are forced to bring to your kind attention that support from the local civil administration is vacillating with no clear cut commitments. Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience." "They are usually citing their inadequacies due to a lack of directions from the state government at Chandigarh or due to a lack of funds," Major General Sharad Bikram Singh, the zonal recruitment officer for Jalandhar, said in a letter dated September 8 addressed to the Punjab chief secretary VK Janjua and the principal secretary for Employment Generation, Skill Development and Training, Kumar Rahul.
The major general also stated that he would bring up the issue with the army headquarters in order to "hold in abeyance" all of the recruitment rallies under Agnipath that were scheduled to take place in the state, or alternatively, to conduct the rallies in states that were neighbouring the state in question.
The government of India initiated the Agnipath programme in June with the intention of recruiting young people with ages ranging from 17 and a half to 21 years old into the armed forces, primarily on a contractual basis for a period of four years. In the end, the company decided to lower the maximum age requirement for applicants to 23.
In June, the Punjab Assembly had passed a resolution against the military recruitment scheme by voice vote. The resolution urged the Centre to immediately roll back the scheme in the interest of the greater good of the country.