Rajnath Singh approves maternity and child care leave for women soldiers of all ranks - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Monday 6 November 2023

Rajnath Singh approves maternity and child care leave for women soldiers of all ranks

Indian women are being deployed in Siachen, the world's highest battlefield;  on naval warships and flying combat aircraft


By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 6th Nov 23


Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved a proposal to allow enlisted women soldiers, sailors and air warriors in the military to avail of maternity, child care and child adoption leave, at par with their officer counterparts. 


“With the issuing of the rules, the grant of such leave to all women in the military, whether an officer, or any other rank, will be equally applicable,” said a ministry of defence (MoD) statement on Sunday.


The decision is in line with the defence minister’s vision of inclusive participation of all women in the armed forces, irrespective of their ranks. The extension of leave rules will go a long way in dealing with women-specific family and social issues relevant to the Armed Forces, announced the MoD.


“This measure is going to improve the work conditions of women in the military and aid them to balance the spheres of professional and family life in a better manner,” said the MoD.


According to a statement tabled by the MoD in Parliament on July 31, 2023, there was a total number of 5,221 women in medical cadres in the Indian Army as on July 1, 2023. These include 1,212 women in the Army Medical Corps, 168 in the Army Dental Corps and 3,841 in the Military Nursing Service (MNS).


In addition, the MoD told Parliament that there were 1,733 women officers in non-medical branches of the Indian Army as on January 1, 2023.


Underlining Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi-led government’s commitment towards Nari Shakti (women’s power), the three services have spearheaded a paradigm shift with the inclusion of women as soldiers, sailors and air warriors. 


The MoD said that with the recruitment of women Agniveers, the armed forces will be empowered with the addition of women soldiers, sailors and air warriors to defend the land, sea and air frontiers of the country.


Few areas and spheres remain closed to Indian women. They are being operationally deployed in Siachen, the highest battlefield in the world; serving on naval warships and flying combat aircraft to dominate the skies.


These Indian women are breaking barriers in many fields in the military. In 2019, a significant milestone was also achieved through the recruitment of women in the Indian Army as enlisted soldiers (below officer rank) in the Corps of Military Police.

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