On 5 November, 2023, the proposal to allow child care, maternity and child-adoption leave to female soldiers and sailors on par with their officer counterparts was approved by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The decision is taken with the aim of improving the working conditions for women, whether an officer or of any other rank in the armed forces. These benefits are part of the Indian Defence Ministry’s vision of ‘inclusive participation’. This will further empower women in the military and help them establish a balance in their personal and family lives.
Currently, women officers in the three services are entitled to 180 days of maternity leave. They can also extend this leave by a month without pay in exceptional cases and receive 30 days of leave in case of a miscarriage or abortion. The new policy will provide women officers with 180 days of full-pay leave for up to two children.
Permanent commission women officers will get a total of 360 days of childcare leave, applicable for children under 18 years of age, while short-service commission women officers will receive 180 days of childcare leave.
Child-adoption leave, which was previously granted only after the date of valid adoption, for children below one, will now be extended. This adjustment aims to address family and social issues specific to women in the armed forces.