Recently, two women officers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Seema Dhundiya and Annie Abraham, were promoted to the rank of inspector general for the first time. The lead force involved in anti-Maoist operations and law and order duties, the CRPF has 3.2% women personnel out of a total of 307,794 while the Border Security Force (BSF), which is primarily deployed at India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders, has 3.03% women out of total 246,385 personnel.
In 2016, the Union government had issued directions to reserve 33% posts at constable level for women personnel in the CRPF and CISF and 14-15% posts at constable level in border guarding forces – BSF, SSB and ITBP.
“All female candidates are exempted from payment of application fee. There are relaxations in physical tests for all female candidates for recruitment in CAPFs in comparison to male candidates. One female member is detailed as a member of the board for making recruitment of women personnel,” said the report.
A parliament committee in March asked the ministry to take concrete steps to increase the representation of women in CAPFs. The panel, then headed by Congress leader Anand Sharma, urged the ministry to conduct phase-wise recruitment drives on a fast-track basis for women, particularly in the CISF and CRPF.
The ministry acknowledged in its report that there is an “increased demand of women police in tackling law and order situation” from the states. “Government has approved the raising of 2 mahila battalions instead of 2 male battalions during 2015-16 and 2016-17 in CRPF,” it said.
The report also listed a number of steps taken to increase participation of women by assigning operational duties to more women to bring the women police officers into the mainstream of policing. “Reorienting the training programmes to include topics like gender sensitization, combat training. In the event of non-availability of a lady officer on internal complaints committee on sexual harassment, the CAPF approaches MHA for detailment of chairperson from another organization,” said the report.