On the occasion of India’s 72nd Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi fulfilled a dream for women officers in the armed forces. In his speech, he announced permanent commission for women officers of the armed forces selected through the Short Service Commission (SSC).

He said, “Today I announce that women officers who have been selected through the Short Service Commission in our defence forces will now have the option to take up permanent commission just like male officers.”

He described this as a “gift” to the country’s “brave daughters”. “From the ramparts of the Red Fort today, I announce this for the lakhs of daughters who wear the uniform and want to work for the country. This is my gift for them today,” he added.

This will change the career paths of more than 3,700 women officers in the three services. Additionally, it will also provide full-length career opportunity for women aspirants in future

Current Scenario

Women candidates are admitted in armed forces only as officers. They are not inducted in the subordinate ranks. Currently, the Army comprises 1,561 women officers, IAF has 1,594 women and there are 644 women in the Navy.

The SSC allows women to join Army branches like Army Service Corps, Ordnance, Education Corps, JAG, Engineers, Signals, Intelligence and Electronics & Mechanical Engineering.

However, female officers are granted permanent commission in a few branches. These streams include Judge Advocate General, Army Education Corps (AEC) and the Military Police.

While male SSC officers joining under the SSC scheme have the right to opt for a permanent scheme at the end of ten years, women do not have the same choice.

Also, women officers are inducted for a period of ten years. This tenure can only extended up to four years under the SSC scheme.

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The PM’s announcement offers signs of change. SSC women officers can theoretically achieve higher ranks like Colonels, Brigadiers, Major Generals and Lieutenant Generals.

However, there was no indication of permanent commission for women in combat positions. Currently, women are not admitted direct combat arms like Infantry, Armored Corps, Mechanized Infantry, Army Aviation Corps and Artillery.

But unlike the Army, the IAF and Navy have allowed entry of women officers in select combat roles. The IAF has pioneered the entry of women as officers in both flying and ground duties. Women are enrolled as fighter pilots. Also, the Air force is granting women entry in legal, education and intelligence branches.

On the other hand, the Navy, allows women SSC officers are Logistics, Law, Observers, Air Traffic Control, Pilots, Naval Armament Inspectorate Cadre, Naval Architecture and Education Branch.

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Megha Thadani is an Intern with Shethepeople.tv

Email us at connect@shethepeople.tv