Several decisions and reforms may be unpleasant temporarily, but with time the country will experience their benefits, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday amid widespread protests against the Agnipath military recruitment scheme. Addressing a public event in Bengaluru, Modi, however, refused to make any direct mention of the scheme.
"The path of startup and innovation is not the one with ease, and taking the country on this path for the last eight years was also not easy. Several decisions and reforms may be unpleasant temporarily, but with time their benefits can be experienced by the country," the prime minister said.
"The path of reforms can alone take us towards new targets and new resolve... we have opened up the space and defence sectors which for decades were under government control,” he further said.
India has been witnessing violent protests in several states against the new scheme with trains set afire and public and police vehicles attacked. More than 500 trains were cancelled on Monday with operations being disrupted by protests.
In a stern warning to those indulging in destructive protests over the scheme, Lt Gen Anil Puri, additional secretary in the Department of Military Affairs, said youths who were involved in arson and violence will not be able to join the three services as a police verification process will be carried out before enrolling anyone.
On Sunday, addressing an event in Delhi, Modi had said many good things brought with good intentions get trapped in political colours. "It is our country's misfortune that many good things brought with good intentions get trapped in political colours. Media also gets dragged into it due to its TRP compulsions," he had said.
The Centre on Saturday announced several placatory incentives including 10 per cent reservation in vacancies in the defence ministry and paramilitary forces for Agnipath retirees as it tried to defuse the violent protests that raged on against the new military recruitment scheme in many states and the opposition parties stepped up pressure for a roll back.
The Union home ministry has also decided to give 3 years age relaxation beyond the prescribed upper age limit to Agniveers for recruitment in CAPFs and Assam Rifles.