New Delhi: The Army on Thursday began recruitment drives for the first batch of women soldiers, who will be inducted in non-combat roles. Rallies were held in various cantonments including those in Lucknow and Shillong.

The Army is conducting a selection test for the first batch of 100 women soldiers to be taken into the Corps of Military Police.

Army officials said women candidates from West Bengal, Odisha and Sikkim attended the rally in Shillong which is being conducted over two days. Candidates from Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand attended the rally in Lucknow.

According to officials, candidates selected in the rallies will have to successfully clear a written test too in order to qualify for training.

The induction will take place in March 2021 after the batch of selected candidates complete a 61-week-long training course.

"Batches comprising similar numbers of soldiers will be trained and commissioned every year. The cadre of women soldiers in the Corps of Military Police will be maintained at a fixed number of 1,700. This number will be achieved by filling the corps in batches," said a senior Army official.

In the Corps of Military Police, women soldiers will take up duties of policing cantonments and other Army establishments. The women soldiers will also work in co-operation with police forces of various states as well as the centre besides handling prisoners of war and maintenance of rules. They will also investigate cases of crime.

At present, women in the Army work only in areas like engineering, medical, legal, signals and educational wings.