New Delhi, Sep 21 | The Centre has told the Supreme Court that a study group has been constituted by the defence services to expeditiously formulate a comprehensive curriculum for women cadets. The government said, a notification allowing women candidates to take the entrance exam for entry into all three defence services in the existing streams through National Defence Academy (NDA) will be released in May, 2022.
In an affidavit submitted before a bench headed by justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, the Centre said: “A study group has been constituted by the defence services, comprising of experts to expeditiously formulate the comprehensive curriculum for women cadets at NDA and a Board of Officers has been convened to give a holistic and futuristic proposal for training of women cadets at NDA incorporating all relevant aspects”.
The Centre said while the education curriculum is well set, all the rest of aspects of the training are required to be formulated separately for women candidates. “Case in point is curriculum and parameters, inter-alia, outdoor training, viz, drill, equitation, swimming, games, sports etc, shall have to be formulated. Hence, the issue needs detailed analysis, including expert inputs to maintain operational readiness”, added the affidavit.
However, the government did not clarify how many women candidates will be inducted in the first batch. “Determination of cadre strength in the existing arms and services would depend upon, inter-alia, the cadre ratio, capability of specific service academy to absorb the intake, the desired cadre structure and its downstream effect..”, said the affidavit, adding strength of induction per course and per term have to be assessed and decided for NDA.
On the aspect of infrastructure to accommodate women cadets, the Centre said assuming the process of UPSC notification to induct women cadets were to commence early next year, various preparatory actions have been envisaged for the implementation plan. The Centre said number of cabins for women cadets would have to be increased along with reconstruction of existing bathroom cubicles to maintain privacy. “Additional administrative and miscellaneous in terms of gender specific kitting, ancillary requirement etc, shall also have to be worked out and executed simultaneously”, added the affidavit.
The Centre said entrance exams for the NDA are held twice in a year and it proposes to have the necessary mechanism in place by May 2022, the time by which UPSC is required to publish the first notification, for entrance examination for entry to NDA.
On September 8, nudged by the Supreme Court, Centre informed the top court that it has taken a decision to allow women into NDA. The top court, through an affidavit, had asked the Centre to inform it, what it is doing now? what is it planning to do in future?
The Centre’s response came on a PIL filed by advocate Kush Kalra, seeking NDA to open its doors for women aspiring to join the Armed Forces. The plea was argued by senior advocate Chinmoy Pradip Sharma.