The percentage of women in the armed forces will be increased in phases, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said on Sunday.
Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Sainik School at Kazhakuttom, he said the Armed forces would employ women only in non-combat jobs. They would have equal opportunity as men for employment in such disciplines. (The Indian Air Force has the highest percentage of women on its rolls, followed by the Navy and the Army.)
Mr. Antony said his Ministry was processing requests from the State governments for more Sainik Schools. It was obligatory for the States to provide land and infrastructure for setting up the schools. They also needed to bear a part of the cost of providing top-class military-oriented residential education to the cadets.
The Centre, he said, provided Rs.44 crore in budgetary support to all 24 Sainik Schools this year. It would seriously consider whether the allocation needed to be increased.
He said Upamanyu Chatterjee, Joint Secretary, Training, had been asked to look into the requests of parents to further undercut the cost of education of cadets.
Mr. Antony inaugurated the Golden Jubilee gate and the new Olympic standard swimming pool. He laid a wreath at the war memorial and received a guard of honour by cadets.
Shashi Tharoor, MP; M.A. Vahid, MLA; Indian Air Force Southern Air Command Chief, Air Marshal S. Mukerji; and Old Boys Association president Ajith Kumar were present.