The SC insists that females be given the chance in Nov itself to take the NDA entrance exam
The National Defence Academy (NDA), the cradle for grooming boys to become officers in the three Services since 1954, will for the first time welcome women cadets. The Supreme Court has prodded the Government to allow female candidates to appear for the NDA exam in November this year. The Government had told the apex court that women can take the examination in May next year. However, the court, saying women’s hopes cannot be belied, ordered that they be allowed to take the test in November. Determined to have gender parity, the only tri-Services training institute in the world, the NDA, was engaged in creating suitable infrastructure for women cadets since early this year. While there is no issue with academic curriculum, the authorities are taking meticulous care in finalising the outdoor training and physical fitness parameters for the females. Physical training includes basic combat drills besides endurance, so far customised for only male cadets. Then there is the issue of fixing standards for physical and medical criteria for females. The male candidates who clear the written exam and interview have to pass the medical test to become eligible for joining the NDA. The test also comprises specified weight and height.
Aiming to induct women cadets in a short time, the NDA is working overtime to fix these standards regarding outdoor training and medical exam. The effort is to ensure that training standards remain top class while formulating parameters for them. The Government had submitted in the apex court that any dilution of physical training and service subjects of firing, endurance, field craft and living off the land for women cadets would impact the battle worthiness of the armed forces. The three Services chiefs had visited the NDA in August to review the infra creation progress. With changing times, female officers are serving with distinction in various wings of the IAF, Navy and Army. In fact, at least four women IAF officers are currently undergoing the final stage of their fighter jet flying training. Similarly, women officers are flying helicopters and transport planes. The Navy has also allowed women to serve on warships when they are seaward-bound. It means they will sail like their male colleagues for months together. Of course, the Navy has created suitable living bunks and other related infrastructure on the warships.
(Courtesy: The Pioneer)