Women’s participation in the armed forces

In News

  • The Supreme Court directed the Centre and the Indian Air Force to consider granting Permanent Commission (PC) to 32 retired women Short Service Commission (SSC) officers based on their suitability with the purpose of giving them pensionary benefits.
    • The court refused to order their reinstatement in service.

Background :

  • The court was hearing pleas by some women Short Service Commission Officers from India Air Force seeking Permanent Commission and consequential benefits.

Supreme Court’s Observations 

  • The bench said the women IAF officers, if found eligible by the IAF for grant of permanent commission, will be entitled to grant of one-time pensionary benefit from the date when they would have completed 20 years in service if it had continued.
    • These women’s IAF officers’ pensions will be equivalent to the officers who went on to serve for 20 years. 
  • Babita Puniya case:
    • Apex court relied on the 2020 Babita Puniya case, which said that the armed forces have discriminatory recruitment practices for women who were being excluded from positions that they were otherwise entitled to.
    • It paved the way for an increase in the intake of women officers into the defense forces. 
    • Women in the armed forces have the option to serve a full career, which earlier was restricted to a maximum of 10 or 14 years.

Scenario of Women’s participation in India’s Armed forces

  • Evolution:
    • The armed forces, traditionally thought of as a male bastion, have in the past 30 years seen success in the induction of women, though the journey has not been smooth.
    • The military opened its doors to women in 1992 when the Air Force inducted its first batch.  
  • Limited combat roles:
    • In 2008, a permanent commission was extended to women in streams of Judge Advocate General (JAG) and Army Education Corps.
    • In 2015, India also opened new combat air force roles for women as fighter pilots. 
    • Women have been allowed in combat in the Air Force, but we are yet to see women in combat roles in the army and navy.
      • Even though women have been in the forces since 1992 all roles and career options are not offered to them.
  • Significance of inducting women in defence forces in India:
    • Women officers will be given equal opportunity to contribute to the nation.
    • The armed forces play an important role and need to promote gender equality in the forces. 
    • Providing women with a more challenging and fulfilling career
    • It would change the “regressive mindset” for not allowing women in the armed forces. 
    • It will challenge a strong stereotype that assumes that domestic obligations rest solely on women.
  • Challenges:
    • Military’s universal perception is that it would lead to “operational, practical and cultural problems”. 
    • Officers in combat branches have to fight together & there is no privacy which could be an issue for a female. 
    • It’s tough to maintain proper living conditions for women in combat situations, especially given social norms in India.
    • It is often seen as a challenge by society for women to meet the requirements of service owing to their prolonged absence during pregnancy, motherhood and domestic responsibilities.

Way ahead

  • The women of the Armed Forces are undoubtedly viewed as role models for all women and the Supreme Court along with the Indian Government have played a stimulating character in achieving this end. 
  • The Armed Forces must take a proactive approach themselves in ensuring gender equality rather than waiting for courts to intervene.
More about PC & SSCShort Service Commission: It provides an option to women for joining the Army and serving as a Commissioned Officer for 10/14 years. After 10 years, a woman officer can either opt for a PC or opt-out or have the option of a 4 years extension, during which they can resign any time.Permanent Commission:  It means a career in the Army till the retirement age. For PC, the entry is through National Defence Academy (NDA), Pune, Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun and OTA, Gaya.Permanent Commission for Women:The Ministry of Defence has taken steps to ensure the implementation of the grant of PC to women officers in the Armed Forces.Indian Air Force: All Branches, including Fighter Pilots, are open for female officers.Indian Navy: All non-sea going Branches/Cadre/Specialisation has been opened for induction of women officers through SSC.Indian Army: Women officers are granted PC in the Indian Army in all the ten branches where women are inducted for SSC.Recent Developments :After the Supreme Court paved the way for women to take the National Defence Academy (NDA) exam last year, the first batch of 19 cadets have joined the tri-services academy in Khadakwasla, Pune.

India-Norway Cooperation on Green Maritime Sector

In News

Recently, the 8th Norway-India Joint Working Group Maritime meeting was held in Mumbai.

Indo-Norway joint effort for GREEN MARITIME Sector

  • Background : Maritime trade with Norway dates back to 1600.
    • Norway has the technical expertise in Maritime sector and India has huge potential for development of Maritime sector and large pool of trained seafarers, which make both countries natural complementary partners.
    • The 7th JWG on Maritime was held in Oslo in  2019 and issues regarding cooperation in Shipbuilding, enhancing skills of seafarers and environment friendly ships were discussed.
  • Recent Developments: During the 8th Meeting Discussion was held on use of alternative fuels like green ammonia and hydrogen for futuristic shipping. 
  • The Norwegian Green Shipping Programme has been successful and the experience and expertise was shared in the meeting.
  • Norway stated that it is committed to India for zero emission solutions.
  • The Indian side has requested Norway to extend Ship Board training and Ship Board training in the area of Polar Water Navigation.
  • The Norwegian delegation will take part in INMARCO, the Green Shipping Conclave, and the Maritime ShEO conference.
    • The Maritime ShEO conference is supported by Norway and focused on maritime diversity and sustainability, including gender equality in the maritime industry.
  • Other Projects:
    • Green Voyage 2050 Project: India Norway is part of Green Voyage 2050 project, both parties agreed on willingness, devotion, partnership and capacity building for achieving common goals.
    • Hong Kong Convention: India is a signatory to Hong Kong Convention for Recycling of Ships.
      • In the 8th meeting, India requested that EU regulation should not hinder recycling to non-European countries which are compliant as per International Convention. 

Maritime Industry in India

  • India has 12 major and 200 non-major/intermediate ports (under state government administration).
    • Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust is the largest major port in India, while Mudra is the largest private port. 
  • India is one of the world’s top 5 ship recycling countries and holds 30% share in the global ship recycling market. 
  • Approximately 95% of the country’s trade by volume and 68% by value is moved through Maritime Transport.
  • The overall installed capacity of the major ports in India has increased over 76% to reach 1,561 MTPA in Mar 2021, vis-a-vis 872 MTPA in March 2014. 

Challenges of Maritime Industry

  • Unsustainable extraction from marine resources, such as unsustainable fishing, exploited by illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
  • Physical alterations and destruction of marine and coastal habitats and landscapes due largely to coastal development, deforestation, and mining. 
  • Unplanned and unregulated development in the narrow coastal interface and nearshore areas has led to the marginalization of poor communities, and loss or degradation of critical habitats.
  • Marine pollution, for example, in the form of excess nutrients from untreated sewage, agricultural runoff, and marine debris such as plastics.
  • Impacts of climate change, for example, in the form of both slow-onset events like sea-level rise and more intense and frequent weather events.
  • Other Factors: Ineffective governance institutions, inadequate economic incentives, technological advances, lack of or inadequate capacities, lack of full implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other legal instruments, and insufficient application of management tools have often led to poorly regulated activities.

Initiatives of India

  • MoPSW (Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways)  is working diligently to develop the Maritime Sector as a goal of Maritime India Vision (MIV) 2030.
  • Sagarmala Project: Vision of the Sagarmala Programme is to reduce logistics cost for export-import and domestic trade with minimal infrastructure investment.
  • Coastal Economic Zones (CEZ):
    • The government identifies 14 CEZs in the National Perspective Plan for Sagarmala Programme.
    • CEZs aims to promote exports by providing infrastructure and facilities to entrepreneurs to set up businesses and industries near Ports.
  • Indian Ocean Rim Association: India has been taking active participation in the IORA for promotion of the blue economy in Indian Ocean littoral states.
  • Matsya Sampada Yojana: 
    • It is a flagship scheme for focused and sustainable development of the fisheries sector in the country.
    • It will bring about the Blue Revolution by harnessing fisheries potential in a sustainable, responsible, inclusive and equitable manner.
  • Polymetallic Nodules (PMN): India has received the sanction from International Seabed Authority for deep-sea mining in the Central Indian Ocean.

Way Ahead

  • India needs to develop maritime trade among BIMSTEC nations and tie-ups / MoUs with other maritime countries. 
  • There is clear potential to further improve the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) in the shipping ecosystem by a more comprehensive integration of technology. 
  • Modernizing Major Ports infrastructure through PPP model

CSE’s India 2022: An Assessment of Extreme Weather Events report

In News

  • Recently, the report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) found that in just nine months of 2022, India witnessed some form of natural disaster almost every day.
    • India recorded extreme weather events on 241 of the 273 days between January 1 and September 30, 2022. 

About the assessment 

  • The assessment provides a comprehensive overview of the state of extreme weather in India across a major part of the year.
    • The report provides season-wise, month-wise, and region-wise analysis of extreme weather events and their associated loss and damage.
  • CSE has sourced its data from two key Indian government sources: the IMD and the Disaster Management Division (DMD) of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. 
Do you know?What are Extreme weather events? The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines extreme weather events as those that are “rare at a particular place and time of year”.While India does not have an official definition, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) classifies lightning and thunderstorm, heavy to very and extremely heavy rainfall, landslide and floods, cold wave, heat wave, cyclones, snowfall, dust and sandstorms, squalls, hail storms and gales as extreme weather events.

Major Highlights of the report

  • A disaster almost every day:
    • India has seen close to a disaster every day in the nine months of this year from heat and cold waves, cyclones, and lightning to heavy rains, floods, and landslides.
  • Loss and damage under-estimated:
    • These disasters have claimed 2,755 lives, affected 1.8 million hectares of crop area, destroyed over 416,667 houses, and killed close to 70,000 livestock. 
    • This estimation of loss and damage is probably an underestimate as data for each event including losses of public property or crop loss has not been collated or estimated.
  • State-wise assessment:
    • Madhya Pradesh saw the highest number of days with extreme weather events.
    • Himachal Pradesh saw the highest number of human fatalities (359 deaths). 
    • Assam reported the highest number of damaged houses and animal deaths.
    • Karnataka accounted for more than 50 percent of the crop area affected in the country. 
  • Region-wise assessment:
    • The central and north-western regions reported the highest number of days with extreme weather events at 198 and 195, respectively. 
    • In terms of human lives lost, central India topped the list with 887 deaths, followed by the east and northeast (783 deaths).
  • Warmest, wettest, driest: 
    • In 2022, India recorded its seventh wettest January since 1901
    • This March was also the warmest ever and the third driest in 121 years.
    • Eastern and north-eastern India saw its warmest and driest July in 121 years. The region also recorded its second-warmest August and fourth-warmest September in 2022.
  • Nature of the event
    • All types of extreme weather have been seen in the past nine months; lightning and storms were spread over 30 states and claimed 773 lives. 

Major gaps in the report

  • Loss and damage assessment is not done properly: While a realistic estimate can be made about the number of days the country recorded extreme weather events from the IMD releases, major gaps remain when it comes to loss and damage assessment. 
  • CSE researchers say that the data itself is not comprehensive: For instance, media reports suggest widespread crop loss in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Gujarat during the monsoon season (June-September), but the Centre’s cumulative loss and damage report for the season claims that there have been no losses in these states.
  • The absence of a robust public database on extreme weather events in the country poses difficulties in the evaluation of disaster situations and its impacts.

Way forward

  • The report highlights the need for managing these extreme events.
  • Need of the hour is to move beyond the management of the disaster to reducing risks and improving resilience.
  • We need to improve the systems for flood management, deliberately building drainage and water recharge systems on the one hand and investing in green spaces and forests so that these sponges of water can be revitalized for the coming storms.
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)It is a public-interest research and advocacy organisation based in New Delhi. CSE researches into, lobbies for and communicates the urgency of development that is both sustainable and equitable.CSE’s efforts are specifically designed to create awareness about problems and propose sustainable solutions.CSE’s Pollution Monitoring Laboratory is an independent, analytical laboratory that monitors toxic contamination of the environment and uses the results of this monitoring to advocate for improved regulation of the use of toxins in the country. 

Spring hurricanes in Arctic to intensify: NASA

In News

Recently, NASA stated that rapid warming due to climate change has severely affected the Arctic, with frozen parts of the Earth receding drastically.

About the Study:

  • A study by NASA, “The influence of recent and future climate change on spring Arctic cyclones” looked into the influence of both recent and future climate change on major characteristics of Arctic cyclones during spring (March and April). 

Key Findings

  • Spring Arctic cyclones will intensify by the end of this century because of sea ice loss and rapidly warming temperatures. 
  • Patterns: Hurricanes threaten North American coastlines every year and they appear to be intensifying,
  • Main cause: Climate Change
  • Ocean heat, air humidity, wind — all these ingredients factor into hurricane formation. And all are affected by climate change. 
  • Temperature: The global mean temperature is currently at 1.15 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial (1850-1900) levels and the last eight consecutive years were the eight hottest years of humanity.
  • Weather:The changing weather could increase risks for Arctic ecosystems, communities, and commercial and industrial activities.
  • Cyclones:Cyclone wind speeds could increase up to 38 mph, depending on storm characteristics and the region’s environmental conditions. 
  • Spring represents an important period for sea ice–atmosphere interactions.
    • Sea ice loss and rapidly warming temperatures will lead to stronger storms that carry warmer air and more moisture into the Arctic.
  • Impact :The exacerbated cyclone conditions may affect a greater area of sea ice and ocean and other components of the Arctic system for a longer duration in a warmer climate
    • More intense storms will be a hazard to shipping activities, oil and gas drilling and extraction, fishing, and Arctic ecosystems and biodiversity. 
  • Future Prospects :Scientists need more details about Arctic cyclones to form more accurate predictions of how the storms will influence sea ice that is already declining, as well as how the loss of ice will affect storm intensity. 
CyclonesCyclones, also known as hurricanes and typhoons, are synoptic weather events that transport heat and moisture into the Arctic and have complex impacts on sea ice and the local and global climate.  Arctic cyclones are low-pressure systems of varying size (around 200—1,500 kilometres in radius) and are often associated with large changes in temperature and humidity, strong winds, and heavy persistent precipitation. 

Semiconductor and electronics manufacturing industry in India

In News

  • The 25th edition of Bengaluru Technology SummitKarnataka’s annual tech exposition was recently attended by the Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology.
    • He highlighted the potential of India’s Semiconductor and electronics manufacturing industry.

Potencial of the Semiconductor and electronics sector in India

  • India has a great scope to emerge as a sizable player in electronics and semiconductor products manufacturing as part of China-plus-one diversification strategy.
    • China Plus One
  • The strategy is also known simply as Plus One, is the business strategy to avoid investing only in China and diversify business into other countries. 
  • For the last 20 years, western companies have invested in China, drawn in by their low production costs, and enormous domestic consumer markets.
  • Growth:
    • The country’s electronics and semiconductor products manufacturing sector has witnessed a quantum growth in the last almost a decade. 
    • Import & manufacturing:
      • In 2014 some 92% of the mobile devices sold in the country were imported while in 2022 some 97% of mobile devices were manufactured in the country. 
    • Potential:
      • In 2014, the country’s electronics ecosystem that comprises manufacturing, designing, innovation and production pegged $10 billion, and in 2022 it grew to $75 billion and expected to cross $300 billion by 2025-26.
    • FDI in the sector:
      • Electronics and semiconductor sector captured 66% of the FDI that came to India in the last three years.
  • Sector specific production:
    • The electronic devices industry is segmented as Mobile Phones (24%), Consumer Electronics (22%), Strategic Electronics (12%), Computer Hardware (7%), LEDs (2%) and Industrial Electronics (34%) comprising Auto, Medical and other industrial electronic products.
  • Demand:
    • Technology transitions such as the rollout of 5G networks and IoT are driving the accelerated adoption of electronics products. 
    • Initiatives such as ‘Digital India’ and ‘Smart City’ projects have raised the demand for IoT in the electronics devices market and will undoubtedly usher in a new era for electronic products.


  • China’s monopoly in the sector:
    • Elaborating on the opportunities for India currently, he said electronics and semiconductor products today was a $1.5 trillion industry with China solely accounting for almost 75% of it and having enjoyed a monopoly in the sector for over two decades now.
  • India as a part of Global Value Chains (GVCs):
    • India is hopeful of becoming part of Global Value Chains (GVCs) for logic semiconductors, chip sets and other electronic products, said the Minister.
      • Chip shortages:
        • However, the pandemic has brought tectonic changes in the global electronics and semiconductor industry and they triggered huge chip shortages and a shift in GVCs.
  • Chip production is a resource-intensive and expensive process
  • Lagging-edge vs cutting-edge technology:
  • Water intensive:Chip-making also requires gallons of ultrapure water in a single day. 
  • Power supply issues 

Initiatives taken by Government

  • India Semiconductor Mission
  • Semicon India programme
  • Production Linked Incentive scheme

Conclusion and Way Ahead 

  • India must seize the opportunity and become an attractive alternative destination for semiconductor manufacturing.
  • Government policies should also focus on assuring and securing access to foreign technology suppliers through trade and foreign policy to ensure a global level of collaboration.
  •  The initial funding should focus on areas like design and R&D, for which India already has an established talent pool.


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