Recommending creation of necessary infrastructure for inducting female officers in defence forces and allowing their entry in National Defence Academy courses, a Parliamentary Panel has suggested formulating a new policy for admitting girls in Sainik Schools as a complementary process.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence in its 'Critical Review of Functioning of Sainik Schools' has noted that certain developed countries such as the US have female officers in combat duties as well.
"The ministry should create necessary infrastructure for inducting female officers for new streams and pave the way for intake of female officers in the NDA. Once such decision is taken, opening of Sainik Schools for girls will become a complementary process," the Committee said in its report.
The ministry should initiate steps for formulating a new policy in this regard and the Committee be kept informed, the report added.
The Committee also applauded a proposal by Madhya Pradesh [ Images ] government for opening up a Sainik School exclusively for girls as 'very rightful and encouraging'.
"However, the proposal is not agreeable to the ministry primarily on the ground that there is no room for girls in NDA course. While substantiating their stand, the Ministry has added that there are limited streams hitherto opened for female officers in the three Services," the report mentioned.
The Committee in its report has also mentioned the reply of defence secretary as 'candid' on this issue where it stated that, "It is for Parliament to make a policy".
Presently women are allowed to join the defence forces in all streams excluding the combat ones.
Over opening new streams for women officers, the report said, "In the opinion of the Committee, opening up of new streams is an inevitable situation which has to happen sooner or later."
On increasing NDA's course strength, the committee said, "The sanction for 16th Squadron at NDA has already been accorded which has enhanced the capacity from 1,800 cadets to 1,920 cadets. The proposal for raising fifth battalion at NDA with four new squadrons is under consideration."
The dual advantage of removing the shortage of officers and giving opportunities to the able and desirous candidates would be available once this Battalion comes to fruition, the report said.