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‘Only 3.6% of CAPF members are women’, a House panel recommends boosting their numbers

It is likely that phase-by-phase recruitment drives for women will be expedited, particularly in the CISF and CRPF. (File)

As a result of a parliamentary committee report emphasizing the urgent need for immediate measures to increase the participation of women in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), the number of women has been described as “abysmally low” – 3.68% of the total strength.

According to the committee, in 2016, the government decided to reserve 33% of constable-level posts in the CRPF and CISF for women, and 14-15% in the border guarding forces – BSF, SSB and ITBP – for women. The committee is disappointed to note that women constitute only 3.68% of the total number of CAPF members. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs headed by BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Brijlal stated that, despite efforts by the Home Ministry to encourage the recruitment of women for the CAPFs and Assam Rifles, the strength of women in these units remains abysmally low.

MHA should take concrete steps to increase the representation of women in CAPFs in accordance with the recommendations of the committee. We may be able to accelerate phase-by-phase recruitment drives for women, particularly in the CISF and CRPF. There should be steps taken to create a conducive environment in the border outposts so that women will be motivated to join the security forces,” the committee stated in its report tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

The committee recommends that the Home Ministry should identify the factors preventing women from joining the military and devise practical solutions in order to encourage their participation in the military. It is recommended that women (especially in the CISF and CRPF) are posted near their hometowns, which would incentivise them to join these forces and thereby increase their participation.

A proposal has been made to increase the number of days of leave provided to personnel who are posted in the field from 75 to 100. “The committee recommends that the ministry speed up the implementation of this proposal at the earliest possible time for the benefit of the jawans,” the report stated.

The committee has also noted that the CAPFs are under considerable duress due to their duty, which requires them to serve under harsh climatic conditions. Consequently, taking time off at appropriate intervals is necessary to reduce their mental state and stress, so that they can spend time with their families. “The panel noted that the Home ministry’s looking into or considering increasing the leave for CAPFs. We should consider this proposal positively and finalize it as soon as possible, because it will boost morale. The report says that proposals for more posts may also be considered positively to enable the decision.

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