Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved a proposal to grant maternity, child care and child adoption leave to women soldiers, sailors and air warriors on par with their officer counterparts. The defence ministry on Sunday said the decision is in line with Singh’s vision of “inclusive participation” of all women in the armed forces, irrespective of their ranks.
It said the measure is going to improve the work conditions for women in the military as it will help them balance their professional and family lives in a better manner. “Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved a proposal for extension of the rules for maternity, child care and child adoption leave for women soldiers, sailors and air warriors in the armed forces at par with their officer counterparts,” it said.
“With the issuing of the rules, the grant of such leave to all women in the military, whether one is an officer or any other rank, will be equally applicable,” the ministry added.
At present, the women officers get maternity leave of 180 days with full pay for each child, subject to a maximum of two children. Childcare leave of 360 days is granted in total service career (subject to the child being less than 18 years of age) to women officers, according to officials.
Child adoption leave of 180 days is granted after the date of the valid adoption of a child below one year of age, they said.
“The extension of leave rules will go a long way in dealing with women-specific family and social issues relevant to the armed forces,” the ministry said in a statement.
“This measure is going to improve the work conditions of women in the military and aid them to balance the spheres of professional and family life in a better manner,” it said.
The ministry said in line with the Narendra Modi government’s commitment towards utilising “Nari Shakti” (women power), the three services have spearheaded a paradigm shift with the inclusion of women as soldiers, sailors and air warriors.
“With the recruitment of women Agniveers, the armed forces will be empowered with the bravery, dedication and patriotism of women soldiers, sailors and air warriors to defend the land, sea and air frontiers of the country,” it said.
“From being operationally deployed in Siachen, the highest battlefield in the world, to being posted on warships as well as dominating the skies, Indian women are now breaking barriers in almost every field in the armed forces,” the ministry said.
“In 2019, a significant milestone was also achieved through recruitment of women in the Indian Army as soldiers in the Corps of Military Police,” it added.
Singh has always been of the view that women should be on par with their male counterparts in every field.