In his eagerness to make announcements, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced a scheme which has not only been there since the UPA I Government in 2008, but about which his own Government had informed Parliament in 2015.
“I want to give good news to my brave daughters,” the PM said in his Independence Day address, “Today I announce that women officers who have been selected through the Short Service Commission in our defence forces will now have the option to take up permanent commission just like male officers.”
“From the ramparts of the Red Fort today, I announce this for the lakhs of daughters who wear the uniform and want to work for the country. This is my gift for them today,” he added.
Besides the jarring and personalised (my gift) tone, what was problematic is the fact that this option has existed since 2008. The Press Information Bureau of the Government in a release dated July 31, had stated, “Women Short Service Commission Officers (SSCOs) are eligible for consideration for grant of permanent commission in specified branches in terms of government policy letters dated 26 September 2008 and 11 November 2011.”
The information was apparently provided by former defence minister Manohar Parrikar in a written reply to MP Pritam Gopinath Munde in the Lok Sabha.
But this was not the only false claim made by the PM in his address. The Congress party in fact accused the Prime Minister of lying from the Red Fort. It listed the six following ‘lies’ that the PM apparently made in his address: