Discontent is the fountainhead of civilisation. Without agitation there is no progress. It is either stagnation or agitation. The current protests against the Agnipath scheme for recruitment of youngsters to the armed forces have clearly indicated that the youth of the country can think. It is not known how the two names – Agnipath and Agniveer – have emerged, but, no doubt, they are romantic as well as appealing. Before bringing the scheme, the Central Government gave a wide berth to discussing its pros and cons with the opposition in Parliament as it did before demonetisation, bringing the Goods and Services Tax Bill and the farm laws. When the Centre implemented the Agnipath scheme, it may have thought that the names would attract the youth who rejected it. Nearly 18 states have seen violence in connection with the scheme. In Bihar itself, railway properties worth more than Rs 200 crores have been destroyed. The agitation is still going on. The protesters say nothing but rollback of the scheme quell their anger.
Nevertheless, the Central Government, instead of trying to douse the flames of anger, has filed the party spokespersons to defame the agitators through a few select TV channels, as it did in connection with the peasants’ protest against the farm laws. The Central government is in the habit of getting everything done by force. Yet it is not possible to do that in India, since it is a democratic country. The agitators must also know that the violence they are resorting to will barely pay any dividends. Ergo they should eschew the path of violence. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has so far kept mum over the issue, though he should have spoken to all the parties to find a solution to the problem and stop the party leaders from issuing any statements that only add fuel to the fire. The agitators are particularly worried about their future and the rising unemployment has occasioned this concern among them. They feel recruitment to the armed forces, only for four years, will lead them to nowhere once they are out of job, since the scheme does not guarantee any pension. There are nearly one million vacant posts in various departments of the Central Government, but no efforts are being made to recruit staff for those posts. The agony of the youth is, therefore, excruciating and looks as if it will never end. There are the feelings of having been beaten down for a very long time.