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Rajnath welcomes 'historic' SC verdict on permanent commission to women in Army

NEW DELHI: Welcoming Supreme Court's judgement on permanent commission for women in Army, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday termed it a historic decision and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has supported the idea.

"I wholeheartedly welcome Supreme Court's judgement on giving Women officers permanent commission in Armed Forces. PM Modi has supported the idea of the permanent commission for women & announced change in policy in his Independence Day speech in 2018," Rajnath Singh said tweet.

Singh called it a historic decision and said this was announced earlier by then defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

"A historic decision to allow women in field operations came earlier when the then defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that women will be inducted into the Military Police. The recruitment process has started in 2019," said Singh.

The Defence Minister said the plan was to recruit women in roles ranging from probing crime cases to assisting the army in field operations wherever required.

"There have been instances where certain women officers have been in the job for nearly twenty years, while SSC term terminates in fourteen years," he said.

Speaking on the inclusion of women in the branches of the Indian Army, Singh said, "In 2019, the defence ministry granted a permanent commission to women in all 10 branches of the Indian Amry, including Signal Corps, intelligence, aviation, engineering, service corps and ordnance corps."

Singh highlighted the percentage of women in India's armed forces had gone up over the 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 and 13.28 per cent of the air force personnel were women as of June 2019."

Rajnath Singh said this strengthens the 'Stree Shakti' in the Armed Forces and that they stand committed to moving forward in this direction.

As of June 2019, women were inducted in all branches of the Indian Air Force, with terms and conditions for women officers being issued from time to time. The government is working to strengthen the 'Stree Shakti' in the Armed Forces and is committed to moving forward in this direction.

Earlier in the day, the apex court ordered that the permanent commission will apply to all women officers in the Indian Army in service, irrespective of their years of service.

The apex court also ordered that after the judgement of Delhi High Court, Centre should grant permanent commission to women officers.

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PTI