Indian Air Force ahead with over 10 percent women officers


New Delhi : Women officers in the Indian army, navy and air force constitute only 3.3, 3.9 and 10.4 percent of the officer cadre respectively and these figures were achieved within 20 years from when they were first recruited, parliament was informed Wednesday.

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Defence Minister A.K. Antony said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha that the representation of women in the armed forces has been progressively increasing since their first recruitment in 1992-93.

“At present, the percentage of women officers in army, navy and air force, excluding medical streams, is 3.3 percent, 3.9 per cent and 10.04 percent respectively,” Antony said.

“The representation of women officers in the armed forces has increased progressively over the years,” the minister added.

To another query on the same subject, the minister said the number of women officers in the army is 1,214, in the navy 302 and the air force 1,079. At present, the existing strength of the army is 36,788 officers, the navy 7,744 and the air force 10,747. There is a shortfall of 13,000 officers across the three services.

These figures are excluding the medical stream women officers.

Women officers are inducted in the branches open to them within the overall authorised strength of officers’ cadre of respective service, based on merit on an all- India basis.

“There is no separate fixed sanctioned strength for women officers in the armed forces,” he added.

Noting that a fresh policy on induction of women officers was laid down last November, Antony said it was issued after considering the paper submitted by a high-level tri-service committee with the approval of the chiefs of staff committee.

“There is an endeavour to fill up the vacancies of officers from amongst eligible candidates, which is a continuous and an ongoing process,” Antony said.

Barring the medical stream, women officers are inducted on short service commissions in certain branches of the three armed forces.

In the army, women officers are recruited in the Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Army Air Defence, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps, Intelligence Corps, Army Education Corps and Judge Advocate General branches.

In the navy, they are inducted into the Judge Advocate General, Logistics, Observer, Air Traffic Controller, Naval Constructor and Education branches.

In the air force, though, women officers are recruited in all branches and streams, except the fighter stream of the flying branch.