The Supreme Court earlier this week has issued an order which now allows the women candidates to appear for the NDA admission exam.
On Friday morning (August 20, 2021) the chiefs of the Indian armed forces – the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force reached the National Defense Academy in Khadakwasla. While there the three chiefs are expected to get a briefing and a presentation will be made by the Commandant of the NDA. He will be presenting a study which has recommendations on the changes that are very important to be incorporated before the women candidates come to the NDA.
The Supreme Court earlier this week has issued an order which now allows the women candidates to appear for the NDA admission exam. This year the exam which was expected to be conducted in September has now been pushed to November 14, 2021.
What does this mean?
This means that the women candidates after the NDA will get an opportunity for a permanent commission in the forces once they get recruited.
The court has asked the Indian Army to bring in changes on its own.
What is the present status?
As on date the women are recruited as Short Service Commission officers and are later after following certain procedures considered for permanent commission.
According to a former Chief Instructor and Deputy Commandant, Officers Training Academy, “OTA only has 11 months training whereas NDA is for 3 years. Imagine the physical stress over thrice the duration for the Lady Cadets. As far as the army training is concerned this is one area where the bureaucrats and the judiciary should leave it to the services.”
“As a trainer I witnessed stress related hip fractures among the Lady Cadets in OTA. A report in 2010 was submitted after discussing with both orthopedic as well as gynecologists in civil hospitals about the reasons leading to such medical conditions.
And the cause that was attributed to the injuries was the difference in the bone structure of women. The OTA was also advised to modify the training structure which was done but with minimal success. Even today there will be many cadets who suffer injuries,” the former instructor said.
Adding, “On any given day, there used to be around 25 to 30 Lady Cadets admitted in MH when camps were in the offing. Worse still were some lady instructors who refuse camps saying they don’t have babysitters for kids at home.”
Those who are in 12th standard or above are eligible to apply for the NDA exam. These young students are in the age group of 16-19 and have to clear the entrance exam conducted by the UPSC and then have to undergo a Services Selection Board Process, before going in for a medical exam. Once they clear this they then undergo intense three year training before moving to their respective service academies.
Today, not only are there women civilian academic officers as permanent faculty members at the NDA, there are other women officers from the tri-services who go there on deputation to teach service or academic subjects.
An officer who has served in the NDA talked about the intense outdoor training which includes group games conducted by physical training teams, activities such as a cross-country race, drills, horse riding etc. “There is a need to further expand these training facilities and revise the modules.”
A serving officer who has also served in the past at the NDA and wished to remain anonymous has said “If the Supreme Court ruling has to be implemented at the academy then several changes need to be made. The NDA structure in its present form is not meant for Lady Cadets. Changes and preparations are meant to be made at Integrated Defence Service, and the Headquarters, under whose purview the academy falls”. “For the starters more training squadrons can be added. Then we should study academies globally to get an idea on how to turn from an all-boys only institution to boys and girls”, he added.