The ministry said in an affidavit, “The government, in keeping with its promise, thus records its clear and unequivocal position that female candidates will be considered for entry into the three defense services, under existing clauses, through the NDA.” In front of the apex court.
The NDA entrance exams are held twice a year and the government proposes that the necessary arrangements be in place by May 2022, the time when UPSC will have to publish the first notification for next year.
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A study group has been formed by the Defense Services comprising of experts to formulate a quick curriculum for female cadets in the NDA, it said, adding that a board of officers has been called in to give a comprehensive and future proposal for their training.
To appear in the exam, candidates must meet eligibility criteria which include physical standards such as height and weight.
Although there are medical standards for male cadets, they are being formulated for women, it said, adding that it needs to be finalized before joining the academy.
The ministry said the director general of medical services of the armed forces and an agency of experts would receive it for the three defense services.
It said young age, type of training would be conducted by female candidates and the operational / management requirements of the Army, Navy and Air Force should also be taken into consideration.
“There is no parallel standard for female candidates at the age of entry into the NDA. In addition to providing education, the training includes physical training, military training, games and sports and related activities to convert officer cadets into competent officers and skilled soldiers. All other aspects of the training should be formulated separately for women candidates, ”the affidavit said.
The ministry said that curriculum and parameters like external training – drills, equations, swimming, sports, sports need to be formulated.
“Any loss of physical training and service content, such as firing, endurance training, field skills and staying away from the ground, will adversely affect the combat capability of the Armed Forces for female cadets / officers of the defense service.
“In terms of infrastructure requirements, it is most respectfully submitted that based on the input and experience of other pre-commissioning training academies in training other cadets, one of the major issues in housing female cadets could be a strong physical separation between male and female residential areas.” That said.
It said that considering the current infrastructural condition in the NDA, it should be examined, assuming that the process of UPSC notification for inclusion of female cadets in the NDA will start early next year and that too in the first half of the year, various preparatory steps are required.
The ministry said all NDA cadets live in cabins that are housed in the squadron building.
The number of cabins for female cadets, in order to increase the number of female cadets in each term, will have to be extended to the next term until the permanent plan is implemented, it said.
Existing sanitation / bathroom cubicles for female cadets will be less than required and will need to be restructured / modified to maintain privacy.
“In terms of training capacity and other arrangements, various aspects are being set up, among other issues, security and privacy measures, physical separation of living quarters and related physical and electronic surveillance arrangements, i.e. female orderly, female duty officers and female trainers, etc.
“In addition, additional administrative and miscellaneous requirements for gender specific kitting, ancillary requirements, etc. will have to be worked out and performed simultaneously. In addition, gynecologists, sports medicine specialists, counselors, nursing staff and lady attendants will be required to be posted / promoted , “Said the affidavit.
According to the ministry, the capacity of the family ward (medical facility) of the officers also needs to be increased, for which additional projects have to be planned and implemented.
The Center had earlier informed the apex court that the armed forces had decided to include women in the NDA.
Additional Solicitor General w Shabria Bhatti, appearing for the Center, said that at the highest level of the armed forces and the government has also decided that women would be included in the permanent commission through the NDA.
The Supreme Court was hearing an application by advocate Kush Kallar, which raised the issue of eligible and willing female candidates joining the respectable NDA on the basis of sexuality only, alleging violation of the fundamental right to equality.
Authorities allow unmarried male candidates to take the ‘NDA and Naval Academy exams’, but female candidates are not allowed on the sole basis of their gender and without any reasonable or fair interpretation in the constitution, the petition said.
It said the inequality was an affront to the constitutional values of equality and non-discrimination.
UPSC conducts ‘NDA and Naval Academy Examinations’ and any unmarried male candidate has the required educational qualifications and those between the ages of 15-18 can attend it. Upon completion of qualifications and training, the candidate joins the service as a Permanent Commissioned Officer between the ages of 19-22 years.
This opportunity to take the NDA and Naval Academy exams at the age of 15-18 is not available to female candidates with qualified academic qualifications and the only reason for this clear exclusion is based on their gender, the application said.
It claims that the training period for female officers of the Short Service Commission is very short, compared to the training that a male standing commission officer who enters through the NDA receives.
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