News: Ministry of Defence has issued a formal sanction letter to grant permanent commission to women officers in the Indian Army.
- What was the issue? Earlier, the male Short Service Commission (SSC) officers could opt for permanent commission at the end of 10 years of service, this option was not available to women officers.
- Thus, they were kept out of any command appointment and could not qualify for government pension which starts only after 20 years of service as an officer.
- Supreme Court’s Verdict: In February,2020 Supreme Court ordered the Centre to grant Permanent commission to women as they cannot be denied the right to equal opportunity entitled under the Constitution on specious grounds such as physiology, motherhood and physical attributes.
- Implications: The Government has now granted permanent commission to Short Service Commissioned (SSC) Women Officers in all ten streams of the Indian Army.
- This decision will allow women officers to be eligible to occupy all the command appointments at par with male officers which would allow promotions to higher ranks and also grants pension benefits.
- However, the women will not be allowed to join main combat arms like infantry, mechanized infantry, artillery and armoured corps in the Army.
- Note: A permanent commission allows officers to serve in the army till they retire, unlike the Short Service Commission(SSC) which is for a specific period of 10 or 14 years.