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Insights Daily Current Events, 27 January 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 27 January 2015

Permanent commission for women hanging on fire

An appeal filed by the government against giving permanent commission to women in the Army is still pending and half-forgotten in the Supreme Court.

A permanent commission means a career in the Army till one retires.
A permanent commission also entitles 20 years of service and a pension.
Women are inducted into the Army as officers under Short Service Commission for a maximum period of 14 years, whereas their male counterparts are eligible to receive permanent commission after five years.

Background:

The issue of grant of Permanent Commission to women officers has been under the active consideration of the Government.

  • Responding to a petition by over 50 women officers of the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force the Delhi high court, in 2010, had asked the government to treat women and men officers in the Army and the Air Force at par.
  • The court had also ordered the reinstatement of all-women Short Service Commission officers who had to retire after being refused permanent commission. The Delhi High Court had directed the IAF and the Army to give permanent commission to all serving women officers.
  • All the three services gave permanent commission to the new recruits after this order, but not to those already serving. This had made the retired women officers move Supreme Court.
  • While, the IAF gave the permanent commission, Army however refused to give permanent commission to its serving women officers. It instead went to the Supreme Court and appealed against the High Court order. The appeal by the Army sought a stay of the High Court decision, which observed that women officers “deserve better from the government.”
    The High Court had rejected the government’s contention that permanent commission could only be allowed prospectively.

Army’s stand on the issue:

  • The Army has been defending its stand by saying that women officers might not live up to the role models that jawans, mostly from rustic backgrounds, want their officers to be in combat situations.
  • The Army has stressed that women cannot be granted permanent commission in the force because the bulk of the army’s Junior Commissioned Officers(JCOs) and other ranks hail from rural India who are not yet ready to accept a woman as their leader in combat situations.
  • The army has also said that there is an ever growing demand for spouse/choice postings, which is adversely impacting the management of officers to the detriment of male officers.
  • The affidavit filed by the Army says the response of woman officers when detailed on various courses which are crucial for career progression “is far from encouraging”. It also says that in most cases, woman officers have declined to go on courses of instructions due to various reasons ranging from family commitment to personal problems
  • The army said the prolonged absence of woman officers from a unit due to inherent family-related issues was also highly detrimental “to the overall efficiency of the unit” as a cohesive fighting force.

 

Inter service study:

  • An inter-services study completed in April 2007, titled ‘Women in the Armed Forces,’ was reported to have concluded that women officers do not quite fit into the military ethos and that time was not ripe to induct them as permanently commissioned officers.
  • The study said that owing to the chances of physical contact with the enemy being high, it is not advisable to include women officers in combat roles.
  • Based on a survey among women officers, their peers and superiors, the report stated that as many as 60 per cent women routinely bypassed the military chain of command to access top commanders for undue favours, including seeking preferential treatment like soft postings and frequent leave.
  • The report, which also mentioned that women are a professional liability after marriage, deemed them unfit for a permanent commission, suggesting a further probation of 10 years before any reconsideration.

Special Leave Petition regarding this issue is pending before the Supreme Court for almost five years now.

Sources: The Hindu, PIB, BS.

 

Padma awards

A total of 104 persons have been selected for Padma awards by the Government of India.

About Padma Awards:

Padma Awards – one of the highest civilian Awards of the country, are conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. They were instituted in the year 1954.

The Awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities, viz.- art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.

  1. Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service;( it is a second degree honour)
  2. Padma Bhushan is awarded for distinguished service of high order. (it is a third degree honour)
  3. Padma Shri is awarded for distinguished service in any field. (it is a fourth degree honour)

The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year. The award is normally not conferred posthumously. However, in highly deserving cases, the Government could consider giving an award posthumously if the demise of the person proposed to be honoured has been recent, say within a period of one year preceding the Republic Day on which it is proposed to announce the award.

Sources: The Hindu, PIB, Wiki, MHA.

 

Big blizzard likely in U.S. northeast

The National Weather Service, the United States, has issued blizzard warnings from New Jersey to the Canadian border, including New York and Boston. Coastal flood warnings are also in effect. This is expected to be one of the biggest blizzards in history.

What is Blizzard?

A blizzard is a severe snowstorm characterized by strong sustained winds of at least 56 km/h (35 mph) and lasting for a prolonged period of time – typically three hours or more. It is characterized by strong winds causing blowing snow that result in low visibilities.

The difference between a blizzard and a snowstorm is the strength of the wind, not the amount of snow.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.