Army rejects Rahul Gandhi’s claim on Agniveer: ‘Rs 98.39 lakhs paid to family, Rs 67 lakh more will paid after verification’

Leader of Opposition Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday claimed that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh lied about Agniveer’s compensation and that he should apologise to the country. He also aired an interview of martyred agniveer Ajay Kumar’s father who said he had not received any compensation from the army.

However, the Army rejected Rahul Gandhi’s claim, saying the family of Ajay had already been paid Rs 98.39 lakhs and Rs 67 lakhs more will be paid after police verification. “Ex-Gratia and other benefits amounting to approximately 67 lakhs, as applicable according to the provisions of the Agniveer Scheme, will be paid on Final Account Settlement shortly post due Police verification. The total amount will be Rs 1.65 Cr approximately,” the army said. 

The army further said that it salutes the supreme sacrifice made by Agniveer Ajay Kumar. “The last rites were carried out with full Military Honours…It is re-emphasised that emoluments due to a fallen hero are paid expeditiously to the Next of Kin of departed soldiers, including Agniveers,” the military added. 

Rahul Gandhi raised the Agniveer’s compensation issue in his maiden speech as LoP in Lok Sabha on Monday, drawing immediate reaction from Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The LoP said the government regards Agniveers as “use-and-throw labourers” and does not even give them the status of a “shaheed (martyr)”

“Agniveer is a use-and-throw labor. One jawan is getting a pension, while another is not. You are creating a divide between jawans,” the LoP claimed. 

Rajnath Singh rejected his claim, saying an Agniveer who lays down his life in the line of duty gets a compensation of Rs 1 crore. 

Earlier this year, agniveer Ajay Singh lost his life in a landmine blast along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Nowshera sector of J&K’s Rajouri.

In a separate incident, the family of an Agniveer from Maharashtra who died in the line of duty last year has said they have received assistance of Rs 1.08 crore from the government. Agniveer Akshay Gawate, native of Pimpalgaon Sarai in Maharashtra’s Buldhana district, died in the line of duty in Siachen on October 21, 2023. 

According to PTI, his father Lakshman Gawate said that after Akshay Gawate’s death, the family got “Rs 48 lakh as his insurance cover, Rs 50 lakh from the central government and Rs 10 lakh from the state government.” He also demanded a government job for Akshay’s sister. 

The Agnipath scheme, announced on June 14, 2022, provides for the recruitment of youths between the age bracket of 17-and-half years and 21 for only four years, with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 more years. The government extended the upper age limit to 23 years later that year.

(With inputs from PTI)
 



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