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In a first, two women combatised officers join ITBP as Assistant Commandant

Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8

In a first, two women have joined the Indo Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) as combatised officers. Heretofore, women officers in the ITBP were serving in the medical branch or were on deputation from the Indian Police Service at top echelons.

Prakriti and Diksha were “pipped” as Assistant Commandant during a passing-out parade held at the ITBP Academy in Mussoorie today after completing their 52-week long basic training. They will be posted as company commanders in ITBP battalions, a spokesperson said.

Both the women officers are technical graduates. While Prakriti is an electrical engineer and the daughter of a retired IAF warrant officer, Diksha holds a B.Tech degree and is the daughter of an Inspector serving with the ITBP. They have been posted to the force’s 14th and 2nd Battalion, respectively.

A total of 53 officers from the 26th Assistant Commandant (General Duty) and 49th Assistant Commandant (Engineers) passed out today. The parade was reviewed by Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Pushkar Singh Dhami. ITBP Director General, SS Deswal and other senior officers were also present on the occasion. A book, ‘History of ITBP’, was also released by the Chief Minister.

ITBP had initiated the process of induction of women as combatised officers in 2016 through the entrance examination for Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

While women have joined the border guarding force as junior commanders for the first time, women are being inducted as constables in the rank and file for the past few years and are undertaking operational tasks along the Line of Actual Control with China and other security related duties. The force has a strength of about 83,000 personnel out of which about 1,500 are women.

Of the five CAPFs that function under the control of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the ITBP was the only force that had not yet inducted women officers in supervisory combat roles owing to its primary task of guarding the difficult Sino-India border.

Other CAPFs, including the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), have been inducting direct-entry women officers through the UPSC for a long time. The Border Security Force (BSF) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) were allowed to directly induct women officers in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

All CAPFs also have combatised women constables in their rank and file, with their total strength being about 30,000. The CISF has the highest number of women personnel followed by the CRPF.

In compliance of recommendations given by the Parliamentary Committee on Empowerment of Women in its sixth report, directions were issued to all CAPFs to bring percentage of women in the forces to five per cent

In 2016, the Central Government also decided to reserve 33 per cent posts at the constable level for women in the CRPF and the CISF and 14-15 per cent of such posts in the border guarding forces, i.e,, the BSF, SSB and ITBP.

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