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Equal Benefits for Women in Armed Forces

  • 15 Nov 2023
  • 4 min read

Source: PIB

Why in News?

Recently, the Defence Minister of India has approved a proposal for extending the rules for maternity, child care and child adoption leave for women soldiers, sailors and air warriors in the Armed Forces on a par with their officer counterparts.

  • The decision reflects the vision for inclusive participation, ensuring that all women in the Armed Forces, regardless of rank, receive equal benefits.

Note:

  • So far, there were no women air warriors or sailors in the Indian Air Force or Navy. Both started inducting women in their ranks after the government brought in the Agnipath military recruitment scheme that was introduced in 2022.
  • The Army initially inducted women in the Corps of Military Police (CMP) in 2019, and now they are included as Agniveers in the CMP.

What are the Benefits of the New Proposal?

  • Only women among the 25% of Agniveers, selected based on merit after a four-year term, qualify for the extended maternity and family-related benefits.
    • The Agnipath scheme mandates that these women cannot marry until completing their four-year tenure.
  • The new proposal will extend the rules for maternity, child care and child adoption leave for women in the military, whether one is an officer or any other rank.
  • Women officers in the armed Forces currently get 180 days of maternity leave, 360 days of child care leave and 180 days of child adoption leave.
    • These benefits will now be applicable to women soldiers, sailors and air warriors as well.
  • The extension of leave rules will help women in the military to deal with family and social issues relevant to the Armed Forces.
    • It will also improve their work conditions and help them balance their professional and family life better.

What is the Agnipath Military Recruitment Scheme?

  • About:
    • Agnipath, enables patriotic youth to serve in the Armed Forces.
    • Participants, termed Agniveers, undergo a 4-year term with around 45,000 to 50,000 recruits annually.
      • After four years, only 25% of the batch is selected for a 15-year service extension in their respective services.
  • Eligibility Criteria:
    • The Agnipath scheme exclusively applies to non-commissioned personnel below officer ranks.
      • Commissioned officers hold an exclusive rank in the Indian armed forces. They often hold a commission under the president's sovereign power and are officially instructed to protect the country.
    • Eligibility for aspirants is between 17.5 and 23 years.
  • Benefits for Agniveers:
  • Upon the completion of the 4-years of service, a one-time ‘Seva Nidhi’ package of Rs 11.71 lakhs will be paid to the Agniveers that will include their accrued interest thereon.
  • They will also get a Rs 48 lakh life insurance cover for four years.
  • In case of death, the payout will be over Rs 1 crore, including pay for the unserved tenure.
  • The government will help rehabilitate soldiers who leave the services after four years. They will be provided with skill certificates and bridge courses.
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