New Delhi: In a move that could be seen as a major outreach initiative towards women but a decision that will have far reaching impact in country's security strategy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced that women officers recruited under the 'Short Service commission' in the armed forces will have the option of taking up permanent commission.
"Hamari lakhon betiyon desh ke liye kucch karna chahti hae...Unkey liye aaj mein yeh bhi tohfa de raha hoon (Lakhs of women and our daughters in uniform want to do something for the country.
They want to serve the nation, for the brave daughters I am announcing a gift," Prime Minister said in his annual address on the auspicious occasion of Independence Day. It, however, remains to be seen whether the government will allow 'commissioning of women' for their entry into the combat positions in the Army and the Navy. Sources said Indian Air Force already has started induction of women as fighter pilots.
"I have a good news for our brave daughters today. Women officers who have been appointed through the Short Service commission in the armed forces will get permanent commission through a transparent process," Prime Minister said. Under the present provisions of recruitment, women officers are allowed tenures ranging from five to 14 years of services. Permanent Commission would allow them to serve till the age of retirement.
Prime Minister also pointed out that women representation is high in the union cabinet under him. In fact, Prime Minister inducted Nirmala Sitharaman as country's first Defence Minister in 2017 while Sushma Swaraj was made External Affairs Minister in 2014.
Prime Minister's announcement has now paved the way for the Modi government to come out with a comprehensive policy soon on permanent commissioning of women in the defence forces. In a tweet, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman thanked Prime Minister for making the announcement.
"Thank you", she posted retweeting a PIB missive that quoted Prime Minister's announcement: "I want to give a good news to my brave daughters; Women officers in armed forces would get permanent commission through a transparent selection process by Short Service Commission".
The three services Army, Navy and Air Force have allowed permanent recruitment of women in select streams including medical, education, legal and engineering. Sources said women officers recruited through the SSC in the IAF have the option of seeking permanent commission.