With the intent to bridge the gender divide in the paramilitary forces, India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced 33 percent reservation for women in the paramilitary forces, including the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). He stressed on the need to increase the number of women personnel in the paramilitary forces. Speaking at the passing out parade of National Industrial Security Academy (NISA), a premier training centre of the CISF, Mr Singh noted that women share in the force stood at just 5.04 per cent. “In all paramilitary forces, women will be recruited by providing 33 per cent reservations,” he said.
Asking the paramilitary forces to improve its core competency in newer areas of crime such as cyber-crimes, Mr Singh said that initiatives had been launched to take the head count of the force from the present 1.36 lakh to an estimated two lakh.
In mid-1980s it was found by both state governments and the Centre that there was need for women personnel to handle women participants in demonstrations. CRPF was the first central force to have inducted women personnel in its combat ranks by raising the first mahila battalion. At present there are 2,000 women personnel in CRPF and 1,500 in CISF.
The move to give 33 percent reservation to women in the paramilitary is expected to receive positive response from different groups in civil society groups. While the decision is a step forward, there are other issues that need to be taken into consideration about the facilities that will be provided to women in these forces who may have to serve in Naxal-infested areas and will need safety.
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