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Permanent Commission for Women in Indian Navy
Apr 23, 2016

After the Army and Indian Air Force, the Navy has now also granted permanent commission to seven woman officers who were inducted as Short-Service Commission (SSC) officers in the education and naval constructor cadre in 2008-2009.

Key Points

  • The Navy will also allow woman officers to join as pilots of maritime patrol aircraft like P-8Is, IL-38s and Dorniers from next year onwards.

  • But the force is yet to finalize a policy for allowing woman officers on board sea-faring warships.

  • With 51 woman officers already serving as Observers on maritime patrol aircraft, additional avenues were now also being opened up for them.

  • Starting in 2017, woman officers can choose to join as pilots of maritime reconnaissance planes, as also in the naval armament inspectorate cadre.

  • Thus, eight branches/cadres will now be open for women in the Navy. These are education, law, meteorology, air traffic control, logistics, observers, pilots (maritime reconnaissance aircraft, not naval fighters like MiG-29Ks) and naval constructor.

  • The Navy is also finalizing the policy for women officers to serve on select (new) warships that have appropriate facilities for them,

  • The navy allows women officers in short service commission with a maximum tenure of 14 years, rendering them ineligible for pension that comes with at least 20 years of service. The army and air force already have permanent commissions for women.

  • Women officers will have to meet at least four conditions for permanent commission-including medical fitness and a good annual confidential report.

  • Women officers will also have to opt for permanent commission at the start of their service.

There are currently only about 340 woman officers who have been granted permanent commission in select branches of the Army and IAF, even though they have been allowed to join the three Services since the early-1990s as SSC officers for a maximum tenure of 14-15 years. Overall, women number just 1,436 in the Army, 1,331 in IAF and 532 in Navy.

The question of permanent commission for women reached the Supreme Court last year when the navy challenged a Delhi high court order granting permanent commission to 17 female officers. That case is still to be decided by the top court.


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