IAF Inducts First Batch of Women in Non-Officer Roles
Published On: 05 Dec 2023 Updated On: 05 Dec 2023
For the first time, in the Indian Air Force’s history, the first batch of Agniveervayu aka women soldiers, was inducted in the non-officer cadre on December 2, 2023, in a landmarking event. Women soldiers marched shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts on this grand event. 153 Agniveervayu soldiers graduated from the Airmen Training School Belagavi, Karnataka out of 2,280 recruits. All of the 2,280 recruits were featured in the passing out parade after completing rigorous training of 22 weeks as per the statement of Air Force spokesperson Wing Commander Ashish Moghe.
This growth and progress was witnessed right after the women were appointed in the PBOR(Personnel Below Officer Rank) cadre by the Indian Navy. This initiative was launched in March 2023 under the Agnipath Recruitment Scheme. People appointed were labeled as Agniveers under this scheme. Wing Commander Ashish Moghe further stated that this particular day (December 2, 2023) would create a landing mark in IAF’s history as the first batch of Agniveervayu(women) marched side-by-side their male counterparts and this was the second batch of Agniveervayu men soldiers.
The passing out parade featuring women Agniveervayu soldiers was reviewed and supervised by the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Indian Air Force’s Training Command, Air Marshal R Radhish. As of now, the army or the military is recruiting women personnel only under the PBOR or the Personnel Below Officer Rank cadre only in the Corps of Military Police but other streams will be open shortly for women according to the Agnipath Scheme, which is what is expected in the coming days.
The Agnipath model of the scheme which is a new recruitment model introduced last year differs from the traditional model that lasted for many decades, in the hopes and aims to revive and recreate the armed forces and younger, talented, and highly skilled personnel. The new model, the Agnipath scheme was introduced by the Union Defence Ministry on the 14th of June, 2022. This model successfully replaced the old one. The purpose of this model was to create a technically skilled warfighting force capable of meeting future challenges by lowering the age profile of the armed forces. The Agniveers serve a four-year term under the Agnipath scheme. Although a short-term induction program, there is an option that 25% out of all Agniveers get retained in the regular roles for another 15 years after clearing further assessments.
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Indian Air Force’s Training Command, Air Marshal R Radhish praised and appreciated the award-winning recruits and applauded each of the Agniveervayu for the outstanding passing-out parade. He mentioned the advancement in the global security landscape along with the pivotal need for practical use of the combat skills learned in the training school from which they graduated. In those schools, the fighting skills are merely given to the trainees to achieve the general military objectives. On top of that, Wing Commander Ashish Moghe spoke about how this parade is significant for every recruiter who completed their foundational military and specialized training. The mentioned training did not just include physical training but also intellectual and ethical training of the Agniveervayu which serves as the foundation of an air warrior.
An annual salary of 4.76 lakh rupees is given to all Agniveervayu in their first year which subsequently increases in the following years. In the fourth year, the Agniveers receive an annual salary of 6.92 lakh rupees followed by a cover insurance policy of 48 lakh rupees is granted which is non-contributory as well. To wrap it up, the insurance policy further comes with an additional amount of 44 lakh rupees as ex-gratia for any service-related deaths.
After completing the whole term of the Agnipath Scheme, the Agniveers receive a severance package of 11.71 lakh rupees as Seva Nidhi. Additionally, a package of 5.02 lakhs is given as a part of their contributions. The Agniveers will also benefit from job quotas in several government sectors, parliamentary forces, and other departments.
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