Command role for women Army officers: Rajnath welcomes SC order, says committed to Stree Shakti

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Historic decision to allow women in field operations, says Rajnath Singh. (File)

WELCOMING THE Supreme Court’s order, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “supported the idea of permanent commission for women and announced the change in policy in his Independence Day speech in 2018”.

In a series of tweets, Singh said the “historic decision to allow women in field operations” was made when Nirmala Sitharaman, as Defence Minister, had “announced that women will be inducted into the Military Police”, which started last year.

Singh said “the plan was to recruit women in roles ranging from probing crime cases to assisting the Army in field operations wherever required”, and there have been instances “where certain women officers have been in the job for nearly 20 years, while SSC term terminates in 14 years”.

“Before 2016, women made up just 2.5 per cent of India’s armed forces, working in mainly non-combat roles. As of Jan 2019, 3.89 per cent of the Army personnel comprised women, while 6.7 per cent of the Navy & 13.28 per cent of the Air Force personnel were women as of June 2019,” he tweeted.

“GoI is working to strengthen the ‘Stree Shakti’ in our Armed Forces and we stand committed to move forward in this direction,” he said.

Last year, the Centre had decided to grant Permanent Commission for women officers in non-combat streams, but mentioned that it would be for “staff appointments only”.

In its decision on February 25 last year, the government had notified “consideration of grant of Permanent Commission to SSC women officers in eight arms/ services in Indian Army”, listing these as “Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Army Air Defence, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps and Intelligence”.