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Women constitute 13.69 % of IAF workforce, highest in armed forces, govt tells Lok Sabha

Presenting data on the 'participation of women in defence sector', Mos for Defence Ajay Bhatt said women comprise 6% of Navy's workforce, while Army constitutes just 3.97%.

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New Delhi: Around 13.69 per cent of the workforce in the Indian Air Force (IAF) excluding its medical branch are women, the highest among all three services of the armed force, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt told in the Lok Sabha Friday.

Presenting data on the ‘participation of women in defence sector’ during the ongoing winter session of the Parliament, Bhatt 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,” the minister added.

The IAF started an experimental scheme to induct women in combat roles in 2015, this has now become permanent and is facilitating gender-neutral employment in combat roles.

The data was shared as part of a written reply from MoS Bhatt to N. Reddeppa, a Member of Lok Sabha from Andhra Pradesh.

The minister further informed the House that women comprise six per cent of the Indian Navy’s workforce.

“The induction of women as officers in the Indian Navy commenced in 1991. Since then the Indian Navy has gradually opened all branches to women officers including induction through NDA,” Bhatt added in the reply.

Women are also being recruited as sailors for the first time under the Agnipath Scheme. 20 per cent of the sailor positions have been reserved for them.

Additionally, the female workforce percentage in the Indian Army was just 3.97, the lowest among the three armed services. However, this excludes those officers serving in the Army medical corps or Army dental corps. 21.25 per cent of officers serving in the medical corps and dental corps are female, the data highlighted.

“At present, women are being commissioned in Indian Army in ten streams—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,” added the reply.

The minister further added that 38 seats are reserved for women at the National Defence Academy (NDA), 20 at the Indian Military Academy (IMA), 220 at the College of Nursing Pune, 30 at Armed Forces Medical College Pune, and 80 at Officers Training Academy Chennai.

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