Pradeep Pattanayak

Amid reports of violent protests against ‘Agnipath’ scheme emerging from different parts of the nation, BJP MP from Bhubaneswar Aparajita Sarangi, in an exclusive interview to OTV on Saturday, termed the protests as unfortunate. 

“As a common citizen of India, I would like to say the ‘Agnipath’ scheme is a good one and the Central government has launched it with a good intention. All should cooperate with the Centre for proper and fruitful implementation of the scheme," said Sarangi. 

“The violence over this scheme reported from different States is unfortunate. It should be the duty of the state governments, opposition parties and people from different sections to make students/job aspirants understand the scheme. Before launching of the scheme, Army officers, both retired and in service, were consulted and the models of other countries were studied and analysed,” observed Sarangi.   

On the increase of the upper age limit from 21 years to 23 years for recruitment under the scheme, Sarangi said, “The change in the upper age limit shouldn’t be interpreted that it was done due to a fault in the original scheme. It is the flexibility of the government.”

“The Union Cabinet has taken an unanimous decision to give Defence Minister Rajnath Singh the freedom to bring in changes after studying the ground situation and others’ views into consideration,” said Sarangi. 

“Similarly, I would like to make it very clear that my government’s vision about the 75 percent Agniveers who will retire at the end of four years is very clear. They would be given preference in various sectors like recruitment in police. And if the Central government feels there should be some changes, the changes would definitely be brought into," the Parliamentarian added. 

On the protests against the scheme, Sarangi said, “It does not seem to me that the protests are natural or spontaneous. The opposition parties are behind this. They are adding fuel to fire.”

Appealing to the protesters, Sarangi said, “Those who are protesting against the scheme should put forth their grievances in a peaceful manner. The Central government is with them. We are ready to hear them and find out a solution to their problems.”