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Women in forces

New Delhi, Aug. 6: The Centre has sanctioned recruitment of 10,000 women in paramilitary forces’ combat ranks to enhance their representation, home ministry sources said.

“This will enable women to be deployed in field duties. Funds will be sanctioned soon for the purpose,” a senior ministry official said.

According to him, the UPA II government had first announced such a plan last year, proposing to recruit 20,000 women personnel over three to five years.

At present, women account for around 1 per cent of the strength of the paramilitary forces. The aim is to raise the share to 5 per cent.

The CRPF — the largest of the forces —was the first to recruit women in combat roles. The force now has two battalions, each with around 1,000 personnel, while a third is being raised.

The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) has around 700 and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) 800.

Under the new plan, the CRPF has been allowed raise three more all-women battalions (around 3,000 personnel) over a period of three years. The BSF has been permitted to take in the same number over two years.

“The main objective behind the new recruitment drive is to raise the level of women personnel in the forces to 5 per cent of the total strength,” said the official.