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Now, a military school for girls in the pipeline

The proposal for the school could help encourage girls to aspire for a career in the armed forces.

New Delhi: In a bid to have more women officers in defence forces, the government is set to approve an exclusive Sainik (military) School for girls. Madhya Pradesh may host the educational institution.

A Defence Ministry official said that the proposal for the school, under the auspices of the Army Educational Corps, is "at a mature stage" and it could help encourage girls to aspire for a career in the armed forces.

"A proposal from the Madhya Pradesh government to allot land in Sagar district and to host the girls Sainik School has reached us," the official said here.

"Since the process involves a lot of financial approvals, it may take three to four years before the school starts. First, we will get the land transferred from the state government to the Defence Ministry and then the school infrastructure will be developed," the official said.

Sainik Schools Society, hitherto an exclusive boys’ educational institutions organisation, were established in 1961 as a joint venture of the central and state governments.

Its objective is to bring quality public school education to the common man, besides removing regional imbalance in the officers` cadre of the armed forces, according to a parliamentary committee report submitted to the Lok Sabha recently.

There are 24 such schools in India now. Joining National Cadet Corps (NCC) is compulsory for their students up to Class 12.

"Though there are no shortages in the number of women officers in the armed forces, the school is an idea whose time has come," the official said.

Of the total 5,137 women short service commission officers, 4,101 are in the Army, 784 in the Air Force and 252 in the Navy.

These apart, there are permanent commissioned officers in the Army`s medical and dental corps and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Force, apart from those in the military nursing services.

Women officers in the Indian Army serve in supporting roles such as ordnance, signals, supply and electronic and mechanical engineers corps.

In the Indian Air Force, women serve in all streams except as fighter pilots. In the Navy too, they serve in all the streams but can`t be posted on board ships and submarines that go out to sea.

The women are usually recruited in short service up to 14 years, but the government has a couple of years ago decided to offer them permanent commission in select streams such as education, legal and other support services of the armed forces.