December 5, 2022

The navy’s basic training establishment in Odisha, INS Chilka, is being renovated ahead of the arrival of the first batch of Agniveer women trainees, with a raft of facilities being built on the sprawling lakeside campus. The 600 women who are about to embark on a naval career will benefit from a range of new facilities, a top admiral said.

Vice Admiral MA Hampiholi, who oversees the Southern Naval Command and is keeping an eye on the changes taking place at the training facility, said that the establishment is becoming more welcoming to women. This includes designating two new housing blocks specifically for them, installing sanitary pad vending and disposal machines, creating a separate dining area, and hiring women staff.

The entire spectrum of the navy’s training is handled by the Southern Naval Command, which has its headquarters at Kochi.

“Specific adjustments have been made to address the diverse demands of female trainees, including their desire for privacy. Before beginning the adjustments at INS Chilka, we sought advice from serving women officers to better understand those demands, he added. Women have been commissioned as officers in the navy for thirty years, but this is the first time they are being sought out as sailors.

Under the Agnipath model for short-term induction of soldiers into the three services, nearly a million applicants—including more than 82,000 women—have registered for recruitment into the navy. The screening process is currently ongoing. Agniveers are the people hired via the new system. These candidates are vying for 3,000 positions in the navy, and the new recruitment strategy anticipates that women will make up 20% (or 600) of the initial intake.

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