New Delhi: Congress MP Manish Tewari has not signed the memorandum, seeking immediate withdrawal of the ‘Agnipath’ scheme, submitted by the Opposition MPs during a crucial meeting with the members of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Defence on Monday, sources said.
In past also, Tewari has supported the ‘Agnipath’ scheme. Speaking to IANS, Tewari had said, “The process of Defence reforms including right sizing the military started in the US way back in 1975 when Donald Rumsfield was Defence Secretary in the Ford Administration and every successive administration has seen it through. Rumsfeld initiated the conceptual basis of preparing armed forces for future warfare as he could envision the changing nature of the battlefield. Even the Chinese started the process of right sizing the PLA way back 1985.”
Apart from the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Secretary, the three chiefs of the Armed Forces and other senior officials of the Ministry of Defence were also present in the meeting.
Out of total 12 MPs in the meeting, six were from Opposition parties that included Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC).
The Opposition leaders who attended the meeting included Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Saugata Roy from TMC; Supriya Sule from NCP; Rajni Patil, Shaktisinh Gohil and Manish Tewari from Congress; and A.D. Singh from RJD.
The opposition MPs voiced their concerns over the new military recruitment scheme in the meeting, and said it should be rolled back.
As per a source, the Opposition members submitted a memorandum against the scheme to the Defence Minister.
“Number of applications coming in Agnipath scheme is not a proof of the success of the scheme but shows unemployment in the country. It is a failure of the scheme otherwise more people would have come,” the memorandum reportedly underlined.
Along with the memorandum, the Opposition MPs asked Singh to hold wider consultations across the country, and also to send the scheme to the Standing Committee for Defence.