New Delhi: Defense minister Rajnath Singh, on 17 February, welcomed the Supreme Court’s judgement on permanent commission for women in the Army. Mr Singh said he wholeheartedly welcomed the Supreme Court’s judgement on giving women officers permanent commission in the Armed Forces.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has supported the idea of permanent commission for women and announced the change in policy in his Independence Day speech in 2018. A historic decision to allow women in field operations came earlier when the then Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that women will be inducted into the military police. The recruitment process had started in 2019. The plan was to recruit women in roles ranging from probing crime cases to assisting the Army in field operations wherever required.
There have been instances where certain women officers have been in the job for nearly 20 years, while SSC term terminates in 14 years. In 2019, the Defence ministry granted a permanent commission to women in all 10 branches of the Indian Amry, including Signal Corps, Intelligence, aviation, engineering, service corps, and ordinance corps. Before 2016, women made up just 2.5 per cent of India’s armed forces, working in mainly non-combat roles. As of January 2019, 3.89 per cent of the Army comprised women, while 6.7 per cent of the Navy and 13.28 per cent of the Air Force personnel were women as of June 2019. As of June 2019, women were inducted in all branches of the Indian Air Force, with terms and conditions for women officers being issued from time to time.
Mr Singh said the government is working to strengthen the ‘stree shakti’ in the Armed Forces. “We stand committed to move forward in this direction,” he said.