First time women are joining non-officer military ranks

In yet another significant step towards inducting women into the military, the Army on Friday said it would admit nearly 800 women into the Corps of Military Police in non-officer ranks over the next few years.

While the decision had been in the pipeline for some months now, the announcement came a day after India’s first full-time woman Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman assumed office.

Adjutant-General Lt.Gen. Ashwani Kumar told a conclave of retired Army chiefs that the decision has been taken to introduce women in the ranks, starting with the Corps of Military Police. The Army, at present, has women only in the officer ranks, and that too just a few thousand of them.

“In the light of increasing requirement for investigations into gender-specific crimes and allegations, it was felt necessary to introduce women in the Corps of Military Police,” an Army source said. Gen. Kumar said the proposal was being finalised, with an annual intake of 52.

He said the Army had established two artificial reproductive technique centres for the benefit of childless couples in the force. The centres in Bhopal and Guwahati are in addition to the existing ones in Delhi, Pune and Mumbai.

The three-day conclave, hosted by the Chief of the Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat, and attended by eight former chiefs, was informed of a proposal to upgrade the rank structure, which would benefit approximately 1.45 lakhs junior commissioned officers and other ranks over a span of five years, Gen. Kumar said.

The Army will set up two residential Army Public Schools, with a capacity of 2,000 children each.

He told the conclave that the Army had opened a fund to cater specifically to battle casualties and to which citizens from any walk of life could contribute. The first tranche of Rs. 3.24 crore was disbursed in July.

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