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- Punjab Government has opened Armed Forces preparatory institutes for men and women
- Opened Country’s first ever institute to help girls join defence services as officers
Punjab has been known as the sword arm of the nation due to its contribution of large number of young men in the armed forces. To encourage more youth from the state to join the forces, Shiromani Akali Dal government had established Maharaja Ranjit Singh Armed Forces Preparatory Institute (AFPI) in Sector 77 Mohali in April 2011. Its main aim is to train selected young boys from Punjab for permanent commission into the armed forces through the National Defence Academy. All the expenses of the training are borne by the Government.
Within three years of its inception, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Armed Forces Preparatory Institute has sent 51 candidates, including 22 in the current session to the Armed forces of the country. One Cadet stood first in the All India Merit List for the NDA course in Jan 2015
Encouraged by the excellent results of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Armed Forces Preparatory Institute for boys, Punjab government under the aegis of Sardar Prakash Singh Badal established a similar institute in July 2015 to prepare girls for the coveted National Defence Academy (NDA). A stepping-stone to defence services, Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute (MBAFPI), a first of its kind institute in the country is poise to create history by providing a golden opportunity to girls from Punjab to choose an elite career as commissioned officers.
A path-breaking initiative, this will go a long way towards women empowerment as despite having a glorious history of gallantry services, Punjabi women have been eluded from serving the defence services. In the first batch, 25 students were selected out of the 1658 applicants through a tough entrance examination followed by grilling physical and psychological tests.
Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute is now committed to replicate the success for aspiring female candidate by grooming them for three years after twelfth class.
Elated with the success of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Armed Forces Preparatory Institute, Sardar Prakash Singh Badal, Chief Minster, Punjab said, “Punjab has contributed maximum number of officers to the services but the number of female candidates has never been so encouraging. We have taken this path-breaking initiative with an aim to bring Punjabi girls to mainstream and help them in their self-actualization process. This is giant step forward by Punjab government in helping girls getting recruited in the armed forces in officer rank.”
Named after the famous woman warrior saint, who had fought the Mughals alongside Guru Gobind Singh in 1705, the Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute gives physical training apart from the academics so that chosen girls can clear the competitive examinations like Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE) and Officers Training Academy (OTA).