Tata Group chairman N Chandrasekaran said: “Agnipath is not just a great opportunity for the youth to serve the nation’s defence forces but it will also make available a very disciplined and trained youth for the industry, including the Tata Group. The Tata Group recognises the potential of Agniveers and welcomes the opportunity this represents.”
Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra tweeted, “Saddened by the violence around the Agnipath programme. When the scheme was mooted last year I stated — & I repeat — the discipline & skills Agniveers gain will make them eminently employable. The Mahindra Group welcomes the opportunity to recruit such trained, capable young people.” In another tweet later, he said, “Large potential for employment of Agniveers in the corporate sector. With leadership, teamwork & physical training, Agniveers provide market-ready professional solutions to industry, covering the full spectrum from operations to administration & supply chain management.”
India last week unveiled a military recruitment policy, called Agnipath, or “path of fire”, to bring young people into the defence system on short tenures. This, however, triggered violent protests in several parts of the country, with authorities cancelling a number of train services. The protesters say that the scheme deprives them of a permanent job in the armed forces including guaranteed pension and other allowances.
JSW Group chairman Sajjan Jindal said negative elements in society are provoking the country’s youth against the scheme. Instead, this policy, he added, will make the country stronger against any external threat. “Negative elements in society are provoking young individuals by saying that this will militarise our country. What it will do is only make our country stronger to any external threat.” Jindal, the first industrialist to speak in favour of the scheme, further said there can be no better place than the Indian armed forces to train the youth and that the four-year stint will groom Agniveers to get the best jobs available in the market and will be a boon for organisations to hire them. “No better place than our armed forces for training our youth. Countries like Switzerland, Israel and Singapore mandatorily make their citizens undergo military training…For a young country like ours, having access to a larger pool of disciplined and educated young individuals – Agniveers available for recruitment by organisations is a boon. Four years of military training will groom the individuals to get the best jobs available in the market.”
RPG Group chairman Harsh Goenka also welcomed the move and the opportunity to hire candidates (Agniveers) under the Agnipath policy. “The RPG Group too welcomes the opportunity to employ the Agniveers,” Goenka tweeted. Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw also tweeted, “I firmly believe that Agniveers will have a distinct advantage in recruitment in the industrial job market.”
Ficci president and HUL MD Sanjiv Mehta said that he was delighted with the scheme for multiple reasons. “One is it is not just about the number of people who don the uniform to make it into an effective armed force. We need people who are young, energetic, passionate, trained and fully equipped to service our nation, to serve our nation and to protect our nation. This scheme is in that direction.” He further said, “So this would mean a right blend of youth and experience in the armed forces. This would be a fabulous opportunity for the youth of the country to serve the nation and once they have stepped out as Agniveers, this would become a great talent pool for corporation like ours.” Mehta too stressed that he would love to recruit Agniveers into HUL. “As the CEO and MD of Hindustan Unilever, I would love to recruit trained, passionate, disciplined and skilled people. We might have to provide them some right kind of skilling for the kind of job they may undertake but this would become a great pool of talent.”
Sanjeev Bikhchandani, founder of Info Edge, the parent company of online job portal Naukri.com, said that if a person serves in the armed forces for four years, they will finish as a disciplined and trained professional. They will have a sense of service and commitment in their early to mid-twenties and can adapt and adjust in any career — state police forces or central security forces or private sector as well. “And in the private sector I am not merely talking about roles in security — it could be in any of several roles — sales, service, back office, operations anything. And I am not just talking about blue or grey collar jobs. Several could also grow into management jobs,” Bikhchandani tweeted. “In the past we have seen that those who leave the forces in their forties and fifties are typecast into security and administration roles in the private sector limiting their options. But that is because they have been in the armed forces for two decades or more.”
He further said, “We have seen youngsters in countries like Israel and Singapore do two years of service in the army after high school and then pursue successful careers outside of the defence forces and government. Every year, the best MBA programmes in the best business schools in the US admit several students who have served for a few years in the US Army. And they do swimmingly. Discipline, focus and commitment are qualities that are valued by all companies. And they are proving to be increasingly scarce.”