Women to get permanent commission in four non-combat wings of Armed Forces

Finally, the Government has decided to grant permanent commission to women officers in the three Armed Forces but with a rider women will only be considered for permanent commission in four non-combat arms, including the Army Education Corps, Judge Advocate General and Accounts streams.

Also, 2015 is expected to be the earliest date by which women would be technically sworn in as permanent commission officers of the Armed Forces. A formal order to the effect was signed by Defence Minister A K Antony on Friday, and the three services will now work out modalities for training and induction of women officers in select branches.

Until now, the Armed Forces have been largely male-dominated with women being inducted only as short service commission officers with a service life of less than 15 years and not rising above the rank of Lt Colonel. With the permanent commission, women can now rise to the highest rank of Lt Gen.

While the ministry has given the go-ahead for permanent commission, it has left for the Armed Forces to sort out the more contentious issues like opening of the 'males-only' academies like the National Defence Academy (NDA) and Indian Military Academy (IMA) for women cadets.

Officials said there would be no reservation for women in the Armed Forces and selection would be based on a 'common merit and eligibility criteria, which would be decided by each Service Headquarters'.

However, serving women officers are likely to be disappointed as they will not be considered for permanent commission. Officials made it clear that the option for permanent commission would only be given to women officers who join the service from now on in the select branches.

While modalities will be worked out by the respective services, women will not be recruited directly as permanent officers but will be inducted into the select branches of the services through the short service commission route.

... contd.

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