The recent tragic deaths of two Agniveers have reignited a heated debate about the welfare measures provided to soldiers serving in the Indian Army under the Agniveer scheme. While critics have voiced concerns and opposition to the existing policy, official sources indicate that the government’s stance remains unchanged. The policy was established in June of the previous year, and there are currently no ongoing discussions regarding potential revisions.
On October 22, Agniveer (Operator) Gawate Akshay Laxman made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in Siachen. His death sparked a wave of emotions and reactions, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi taking to social media to express his dismay. Gandhi pointed out that Laxman’s family would not receive gratuity, pension, or other benefits, and he characterized the Agniveer scheme as an affront to the dedication of soldiers.
On October 11, the Indian Army faced criticism for not according a military funeral to Agniveer Amritpal Singh, a 19-year-old soldier who tragically passed away in Jammu. The Army later clarified that this decision was based on the fact that Singh’s death resulted from a self-inflicted wound. It is a standard practice in the armed forces that no guard of honor is provided for deaths by suicide.
In response to concerns about Agniveer Akshay Laxman’s family, sources within the defense establishment clarified that the soldier’s next of kin would indeed receive a range of emoluments in the event of his demise as a battle casualty. This includes a non-contributory insurance payout of Rs 48 lakh, along with an ex-gratia amount of Rs 44 lakh. Additionally, a Seva Nidhi contributed by the Agniveer, matched by a government contribution plus interest, will be provided to the family.
Furthermore, the next of kin will receive the soldier’s pay for the remaining tenure from the date of his passing until the completion of four years. The Armed Forces Battle Casualty Fund will also make a contribution to support the family during this difficult time.