NEW DELHI: The Navy on Wednesday decided to grant permanent commission to seven women officers belonging to the Short Service Commission (SSC) batch of 2008-09. Though women officers are selected only as support staff at present, they will soon be sailing on select warships.
The Navy is the last of the three wings of the armed forces in the country to allow permanent commission for women. While the Army and the IAF allow permanent commission for women, the Navy had limited women officers only to the Short Service Commission of 14 years.
“Recognising the importance of providing equal opportunities to women officers, seven women officers from the batch of Short Service Commission officers of the education branch and the naval constructor cadre, who joined the force in 2008-09, have been granted permanent commission,” a statement issued by the Navy said. It added that the Navy is also finalising a policy for women officers to serve on select warships that have appropriate facilities for women. Defence sources said the women officers will have to meet a few conditions for permanent commission such as medical fitness and a good annual confidential report. The women officers will also have to opt for permanent commission as this will not be an automatic route.
The Navy statement also mentioned that additional avenues for employment of women officers will be opened up.
“Starting in 2017, women officers can choose to join as pilots of Maritime Reconnaissance planes viz. Boeing P8I, Dornier, etc, as also in the Naval Armament Inspectorate cadre. Thus, a total of eight branches/cadres will be opened for women officers in the Navy,” the statement said.
Branches in which women officers can be given permanent commission include education, law, air traffic control, logistics, observers, pilots and naval constructors.
Earlier, based on a government order in 2008, the Navy had decided to grant such commission only to women who joined after that year and that too only in education, law and naval architecture branches.
A separate case filed by a group of women who had retired after their Short Service Commission ended in 2006 is pending before the Supreme Court.