New Delhi: At a time when Opposition parties are demanding withdrawal of the Agnipath recruitment scheme, Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari on Sunday said his force has received more than 7.5 lakh applications under the new scheme showcasing the youth’s “keenness” to join the armed forces.
The IAF chief also addressed the “challenge” of finishing the selection process on time which the forces, during the launch of the scheme, had set December as the deadline.
Notably, Opposition MPs, in a meeting with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday, raised concerns about the newly launched Agnipath recruitment scheme for the armed forces and asked for its withdrawal or to send it for parliamentary scrutiny.
“We’ve received 7.5 lakh applications for it. This shows the keenness of the youth to join the armed forces and the Air Force in particular. The big challenge lies in finishing the selection process on time to start training as we had planned in December,” the IAF chief told ANI.
Notably, the Indian Air Force witnessed the highest number of applications for recruitment into the Force surpassing the previous best recruitment cycle numbers. The IAF started the registration process on June 24, 10 days after the Agnipath scheme was launched by the Centre.
According to the IAF, the highest number of applications in any recruitment cycle was 6,31,528 which was overtaken this year under the Agnipath scheme which attracted 7,49,899 applications.
“The online registration process conducted by #IAF towards #AgnipathRecruitmentScheme has been completed. 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,” IAF tweeted earlier this month.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari also spoke about Air Force Day, which is celebrated on October 8 every year, and said that the IAF will hold the Parade at different locations in the country.
“Air Force Day Parade this year will be held in Chandigarh. PM’s vision was to take major events out of Delhi. Keeping with PM’s vision and our idea of showing IAF’s prowess to the youth of the nation we decided to shift the venue of the Parade to a new location every year, this year we have selected Chandigarh,” he said.
“We take pride in showing the capabilities of the Air Force through such displays,” the IAF chief added.
In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiatives to take major events and festivities out of the national capital region to different parts of the country, the Indian Air Force has decided to celebrate this year’s annual Air Force Day parade and flypast in Chandigarh instead of the Hindan Air Base in Delhi NCR, where it was being held for past many years.
The flypast is being planned to be held over the famous Sukhna lake in the city where a large number of people, from not just Chandigarh but adjoining cities, can come and witness the combat aircraft such as the Rafale, Su-30 and Mirage 2000 fly along with the aerobatic display teams like the Suryakirans and the Sarang perform.
The IAF leadership also felt that the flypast should not be confined to the air base in Chandigarh as only a limited number of people would be able to view it due to restrictions inside the military bases, the officials said.
In the last eight years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has started hosting foreign dignitaries in different cities like Ahmedabad and Chennai while many events like the military exhibition Defence expo are being held in different states.
As per the plans, from now on, the IAF would also celebrate Air Force Day in different parts of the country.
“Almost the same set of people witness the parade every year at the Hindan Air Base and shifting it to places outside the national capital region would ensure more number of youth see the Air Force in action and get inspired to join it,” the officials said.
For many decades, the Indian Air Force used to hold the parade and flypast at the Palam Air Base but shifted it to the Hindan Air Base in 2006. (ANI)