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Army working on modalities to pave way for permanent commission to women officers

By Vinod

New Delhi: Defence ministry is planning to create some special cadre to give permanent commission to women Army officers. There has been a long demand that women should also be given permanent commission in the Army like men however the Army has still to take a call on it if women officers should be given permanent commission in certain area like direct combat duties.

Image for representation only

Sources in the defence ministry informed that the army is working on how women officers to be given permanent commission. The areas where these officers could be given permanent commission are being talked about like Image Interpretation, Cyber and IT, Language Specialisation, Air Traffic Control, Corps of Military Police and Service Board. Army is working on the modality that how will they work because they will be sub-sections of the original corps.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said that she was working with the three armed forces to take a 'synchronised position' in recruitment of women in Army, Navy and Air Force and approach the court with matters of short service commission women being offered permanent commission.

The Minister said that there was no parity at present between the armed forces in recruitment rules. She said while women are already engaged a figher pilots in Air Force -- considered absolutely front-end top notch level position -- in Army women are still not up for many of the positions except for medical corps. In gender neutral Navy as well, women cannot go into the sea.

As per Army sources, women officers are given permanent commission in legal and education wings to put it in simple way. They are not at all given entry in infantry, armored, artillery and mechanised artillery even short service commission. However, signals, engineers, intelligence, ordinance, Army service corps are the areas where women are given short services commission.

Actually a case was filed in 2009 on women officers in short service to be given permanent commission and court ruled in 2012 that they should not be retired unless the court decides the matter. Army sources informed that there are 246 such officers future are hanging in balance and they have crossed the 14 years threshold of retirement as a short service commission officer.

Moreover, Army sources informed that the court case is not about women officer being given combat duty however they are in the assistance duty of the combating forces.

The minister further said, "Each of these services has taken their own approach towards getting women a limited option of getting into their force and as a result there is no parity within the three survives either. "There are different approaches which are prevailing. I am spending quite sometime with all the three forces to make sure that we take a synchronised position and also approach the court to handle all these cases which are already there about short service (commission) women being offered permanent commission," she said.

However, people known familiar with Army and its functioning informed that it would be practically difficult to put women in the combat operations before addressing some issues. There is diffrance in working condition of Army, Navy and Air Force.

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