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PC : BBC

The Indian Army has granted permanent commission to 577 women officers since the Supreme Court verdict in February 2020. The Ministry of Defence informed the Parliament that as many as 577 women officers have been granted permanent commission.

“63 eligible Women Officers have been granted permanent commission as of November 25, 2021 in compliance with the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhat said in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha.

The permanent commission to more women officers will further pave the way for women getting larger roles in the Army and also to hold command positions.

Earlier, the government had resisted granting permanent commission to women officers, citing bizarre reasons like poor hygiene in forward areas, motherhood and child care, leading a life of isolation and troops from rural backgrounds not accepting women officers as commanders.

Grant of permanent commission to Short Service Commissioned (SSC) women officers is allowed in streams like Army Air Defence (AAD), Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), Army Service Corps (ASC), Army Ordnance Corps (AOC), and Intelligence Corps in addition to the existing streams of Judge and Advocate General (JAG) and Army Educational Corps (AEC).

Women officers still cannot serve in infantry, artillery and armoured corps—combat wings deployed at the most forward locations facing adversary situations.

The Army has also tweaked its policy on issues like training, physical endurance and postings and service courses to bring about equilibrium in service conditions for male and female officers after the Supreme Court verdict.

Entry of women into the Army till now has only been through Short Service Commission (SSC) and a majority can not serve beyond 14 years. However, there were some who continued on extensions but were still not given permanent commission.