NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved a proposal for extending the rules for maternity, child care and child adoption leave for women soldiers, sailors and air warriors in the Armed Forces on a par with their officer counterparts.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the defence ministry said under the rules, the grant of such leaves to all women in the military, whether one is an officer or any other rank, will be equally applicable.
So far, there were no women air warriors or sailors in the Indian Air Force or Navy. Both started inducting women in their ranks after the government brought in the Agnipath military recruitment scheme last year.
The Army had started inducting women in the ranks in just one arm – the Corps of Military Police (CMP) – in 2019. Now women are getting inducted in the CMP as Agniveers.
Only those women soldiers, sailors and air warriors will get the benefits of the new proposal who feature among the 25% of Agniveers inducted into the three services on a merit-based selection after completing their four-year tenure.
This is because the terms and conditions of the Agnipath scheme state that they cannot marry till they are serving the four-year term under the scheme.
Women officers in the three services currently are eligible for 180 days of maternity leave, with a provision for extension of a month of leave without pay in exceptional cases and 30 days of leave in the instance of a miscarriage or abortion.
Women officers are eligible for 180 days of leave in case they adopt a child below the age of one year.
Permanent commission women officers are also eligible for 360 days of child care leave while short service commission women officers are eligible for 180 days of leave.
As per the ministry statement, the decision is in line with the defence minister’s vision of inclusive participation of all women in the Armed Forces, irrespective of their ranks.