The Indian Navy commenced the registration process under the newly launched Agnipath recruitment scheme on July 1 this month, and if reports are to be believed, over 10,000 females have applied for the position within 3 days.

The ocean branch of the Indian Military has begun registration for its recruitment process in the online mode from the very first date of the ongoing month, while the candidates will be able to fill out detailed application forms online from July 15 – 30.

Indian Navy’s current recruitment drive under the Agnipath scheme happens to be significant in the manner as this is the first time it is allowing women soldiers to join as sailors in the force. These women sailors will also be deployed for Navy’s operational works on the warships.

Though, the ocean wing is yet to decide the total number of female candidates it will be inducting in the force among the 3000 naval ‘Agniveers’ for the year 2022.

This is the first time, the Indian Navy has allowed women to be recruited as sailors in the force who would also be deployed on warships as per operational requirements. However, the Navy is yet to finalise the final number of women among the 3000 naval ‘Agniveers’ that it will induct in 2022.

“Around 10,000 female candidates had registered themselves till Sunday,” government officials told news agency ANI.

The Navy is making arrangements at INS Chilka, the premier basic training establishment for sailors of the Indian Navy, on November 21. The establishment will also have facilities for training the women sailors there.

“The Agnipath scheme in the Navy will be gender-neutral. As we speak, 30 women officers are sailing on board frontline warships. We have decided that the time has come to recruit women sailors as well, and in all trades which will include women who will go to sea,” Navy officials had stated.

Armed forces had been inducting women into the 14-lakh strong military forces since the 1990s but only at officer ranks. This changed in 2019-20 were from the Indian Army began recruiting women in other ranks for the first time.

As a result of this, 100 women jawans are presently Corps of Military Police (CMP).

The “transformative” Agnipath scheme, announced by Union Minister Rajanath Singh on 14 June, in the presence of the three service chiefs provides for the recruitment of into the armed services of youths in the age bracket of 17-and-a-half-years to 21 for only four years with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 more years. The Centre later extended the upper age limit to 23 years for recruitment in 2022.

There have been protests against the Agnipath scheme in several states and the government has announced support measures to allay apprehensions.

The Union Cabinet had also approved Agnipath scheme on June 14 and the youth selected under this scheme will be known as ‘Agniveers’.

The government had announced that 46,000 Agniveers will be recruited this year. It had said that armed Forces will have “a younger, fitter, diverse profile” to face future challenges.