P Chidambaram said the unemployment situation is so extreme that desperate youth are willing to take any job

Days after the Indian Air Force (IAF) said it has received 7.5 lakh applications under the “Agnipath” recruitment scheme, senior Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram claimed the “extreme” “unemployment situation” in the country was the reason behind such a large number of applications.

“Fact: 7,50,000 applicants for 3000 posts in IAF under the Agniveer scheme. Wrong conclusion: the Agniveer scheme is popular among the youth. Right conclusion: the unemployment situation is so extreme that desperate youth are willing to take any job,” Chidambaram tweeted.


Earlier, Chidambaram had said anyone who wishes to become a soldier should not apply for the government’s ambitious scheme.

On Twitter, Chidambaram noted that if anyone wishes to be trained as a driver, washer man, barber or Chowkidaar (guard), they should become an Agniveer. “If you wish to be trained as a driver, washer man or barber, become an Agniveer. If you wish to be trained as a chowkidar, become an Agniveer,” he wrote on the micro-blogging platform.

“If you wish to learn to fry pakoras, become an Agniveer. If you wish to become a soldier, do not apply,” he added.

The registration process under the scheme began on June 24 and ended on Tuesday.

After the scheme was unveiled on June 14, violent protests against it rocked several states for nearly a week and various opposition parties demanded its rollback.

“The online registration process conducted by IAF towards Agnipath Recruitment Scheme has been completed,” the IAF said on Twitter.

“Compared to 6,31,528 applications in the past, which was the highest in any recruitment cycle, this time 7,49,899 applications have been received,” it added.

What Is Agnipath Scheme?

Under the Agnipath scheme, those aged between 17-and-a-half and 21 years would be inducted into the armed forces for a four-year tenure and 25 per cent of them will be inducted for regular service subsequently.

The government had, on June 16, increased the upper-age limit for recruitment under the scheme to 23 years from 21 for the year 2022 and subsequently, announced a slew of placatory steps such as a preference for “Agniveers” in central paramilitary forces and defence public sector undertakings on their retirement.

Many BJP-ruled states also declared that “Agniveers” – soldiers inducted into the armed forces under the Agnipath scheme – will be accorded priority for recruitment in the state police forces.

The armed forces have said those who have indulged in violent protests and arson against the new recruitment scheme will not be inducted.

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