The Indian Steel Association (ISA) has welcomed the government’s Agnipath scheme saying the industry needs Agniveers as such talent can help achieve the country’s 300 MT steel production capacity target. Under the National Steel Policy 2017, the government has set an ambitious target of scaling up India’s steel-making capacity to 300 million tonne (MT).
“The Indian steel industry unequivocally supports the pathbreaking initiative of Government of India. Agnipath is a win-win for all. The Indian steel industry needs lakhs of trained and disciplined men and women to enable its growth ambition to achieve 300 MTPA, as per the National Steel Policy,” ISA President Dilip Oommen said in a statement.
Oommen, who is also the CEO of AMNS India, said there cannot be anything better than selecting the highly skilled Agniveers, trained under the Agnipath scheme, to accomplish this goal. ISA Secretary-General Alok Sahay said Agnipath is a path breaking scheme of the government.
“In fact, it is a movement for Skill India-Secure India. The qualities such as dedication to nation, commitment to work, honesty and discipline in work, which Agniveers would have after 4 years under Agnipath scheme…will be immensely useful for all the employers,” he said. Sahay said every sector, including steel would look for Agniveers as employees having such qualities.
The Agnipath scheme for the armed forces, announced on June 14, provides for the recruitment of youths between the age bracket of 17-and-half years to 21 for only four years, with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 more years.
The others would retire without gratuity and pension benefits. Later, the government extended the upper age limit to 23 years for recruitment in 2022. However, protests have erupted in several states against the scheme