New Delhi: Around 13.69 per cent of the workforce in Indian Air Force (IAF), excluding its medical and dental branch, are women, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt told in the Lok Sabha on Friday. This is the highest among all three services of the armed force with 3.97 per cent in the Army and 6 per cent in the Navy.
The minister was presenting a data on ‘participation of women in defence sector’ during the ongoing winter session of the Parliament.
He said that “officers recruitment in the IAF is gender neutral”.
“Women officers are inducted in all the branches and streams of IAF. Opportunities for a career in IAF service are widely publicized through print/ electronic media and special publicity drives,” Bhatt said.
It is to be noted that the data was shared as part of a written reply from MoS Bhatt to N. Reddeppa, Member of Lok Sabha, from Andhra Pradesh.
“Government has taken number of steps to increase women participation in the Defence sector. Combat employment philosophy of women in the Armed Forces is a continuously evolving process and regularly reviewed by the Indian Army. At present, the women are being commissioned in Indian Army in ten Streams viz. Corps of Engineers, Corps of Signals, Army Air Defence, Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps, Corp of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Army Aviation Corps, Intelligence Corps, Judge Advocate General Branch and Army Education Corps in addition to the Armed Forces Medical Services as Doctors and Military Nurses which is a women only entry. New Avenues such as grant of permanent commission to SSC women officers, induction of women cadets in NDA, recruitment of Women as Provost JCOs/OR,” the minister added.
Asked if the government has done any survey on low participation of women in the defence sector, Bhatt said, “No study has been undertaken regarding the low participation of women as there has been a steady growth in the induction of women in the armed forces.”
The minister added that 38 seats are reserved for women at the National Defence Academy, 20 at Indian Military Academy, 220 at the College of Nursing Pune, 30 at Armed Forces Medical College Pune and 80 at Officers Training Academy Chennai.
Meanwhile, the armed forces are reeling under a shortage of 1.35 lakh personnel, with maximum vacancies of 1.18 lakh in the Army, Bhatt said.
The total shortage in the Navy was around 11,587 till September 30 and in IAF as on November 1 was 5,819, he added.