Narendra Modi
PM Modi at Red Fort | DD Live
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PM Modi’s Independence Day ‘gift’ of permanent commission for women of the short service commission was widely hailed but is off the mark.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in his Independence Day speech Wednesday permanent commission for women officers of the armed forces selected through the Short Service Commission (SSC).

“I want to give good news to my brave daughters,” he said, “Today I announce that women officers who have been selected through the Short Service Commission in our defence forces will now have the option to take up permanent commission just like male officers.”

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“From the ramparts of the Red Fort today, I announce this for the lakhs of daughters who wear the uniform and want to work for the country. This is my gift for them today,” he added.

It appears however, that the PM was giving women officers a gift they already have.

According to an official statement issued by the Press Information Bureau (PIB) dated 31 July, 2015: “Women Short Service Commission Officers (SSCOs) (are) eligible for consideration for grant of permanent commission in specified branches in terms of government policy letters dated 26 September 2008 and 11 November 2011.”

According to the PIB, the information was provided by former defence minister Manohar Parrikar in a written reply to MP Pritam Gopinath Munde in the Lok Sabha.

The “government policy letters” in question date back to 2008 and 2011 — seven and four years before the official announcement.

The “specified branches” refer to non-combat roles like the judge advocate general (JAG) department (the Army’s judicial wing), cyber and information technology, air traffic control, and staff selection boards.

In the Supreme Court

Responding to the defence ministry’s announcement on Twitter, former Army officer Navdeep Singh, who is also a lawyer specialising in military issues, said that while Modi’s announcement was “great news”, he hoped “the appeals filed by the central government in the Supreme Court challenging the grant of permanent commission to women are withdrawn”.

He added it was worth noting that the “the government’s recent stand in courts is just the opposite of this (announcement)”.

Women Army officers of the SSC have been fighting a long and difficult battle for permanent commission. It took 57 Army officers a four-year-long court battle in the Delhi High Court to be granted permanent commission in March 2010.

Prior to the ruling, women officers were required to retire after 14 years of service with no scope of promotion or pension, even in non-combat roles. SSC men, however, were eligible for permanent commission after 14 years.

The Army, however, had challenged the Delhi High ruling through the Central government in the Supreme Court in 2010. But the other two arms of the defence forces — the Navy and the Air Force — complied with the high court order.

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Eight years later, in April 2018, the central government seemed to be on the brink of changing its mind.

The Centre told the Supreme Court that it was finally considering granting permanent commission to SSC women army officers, but ruled out the same for combat roles.

Fact-checking Prime Minister Modi, this is how the situation stands today: Permanent commission is already offered to women officers in the armed forces in select non-combat branches. Women were also always offered permanent commission in the medical and nursing services.

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4 Comments Share Your Views


  1. Lady Short service commission offers in the army never had perminent commission. They could serve a max of 14 yrs. Doctors and nurses had perminent commission. Then again their entry is not through the SSC route. So what the PM said was fully correct.

  2. साले गधे तुझे किसने journalist बनाया है…?? तू Prime Minister को facts बतायेगा….!!! तो सुन अब…..इन select branches के अलावा Signals, Engineers, EME, ASC, Ordinance etc में भी woman officers commission होती हैं, जो Short Service Commission entry है और बहुत समय से Permanent Commission के लिए मांग कर रहीं थी । इनके लिए Prime Minister ने Permanent Commission का “GIFT” announce

  3. Madam while your observation about PC in non combat roles for women is true but what the PM was referring to not explicit but implied because the cadre and trades in all three services are different. So to impute that the PM Is unaware about PC in existence for women in certain trades is far fetched. What he may have wanted to say would have been probably in combat roles. So wait for the official inputs from the three services


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