Nirmala Sitharaman, the minister of finance, called for increasing the number of women directors on the boards of India Inc. She claimed that the government can only encourage businesses and women to participate more and is unlikely to make further changes to the regulatory environment.

"The market will need to take the initiative. The government is at its limit in terms of nudges. It cannot be voicing concerns on behalf of 50% of the populace. To further this mission, society must exert pressure, reason, and a higher sense of conscious decision-making, she remarked at a gathering of women directors held at the BSE headquarters.

Only three-fourths of the listed companies on the NSE, according to the ministry, have at least one female independent director.

According to data from Prime Database, there are 10,356 males and 2,350 women serving as directors of publicly traded companies.

The overall number of director roles held by women totals 2,970, or 19% of all jobs, as one person is allowed to hold numerous director positions.

1 094 of these have non-independent directorships, while 1,926 of them have independent directorships.

On the issue of repetition in selection of marquee individuals, the FM said, “The Nifty50 companies have often hired the same women to their boards. About 14 women hold 5-6 directorship positions across NSE-listed companies, while seven women hold seven directorship positions each. It is a very revealing number; it doesn’t have to be so concentrated. These numbers are getting noticed by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.”

She emphasised that while gender balance is important, the perfect balance is more important, and that the board should take great care to recruit women and widen the pool from which candidates are drawn.

“As a director of the board, you as a woman can bring value addition to the companies. It cannot be a comfortable men’s club,” added the finance minister.

The Security and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), in compliance with the Businesses Act, has mandated the nomination of one independent woman director to the board of listed companies as part of a regulatory drive for gender diversity.

At the same event, Harini Balaji, chief general manager, Sebi, said, “There is still a perceptible feeling that women directors are appointed as a result of tokenism. Statistics from top 500 companies on NSE shows that 47 per cent of them have more than one woman director in their board, which means that they are doing it willingly and not just for regulation. The other 50 per cent, which have only one woman independent director, is where tokenism might creep in.”In November 2016, India paid the US $750 million for 145 howitzers. 25 howitzers from the M777 maker BAE Systems were shipped fully assembled, and the remaining guns were manufactured locally in cooperation with Mahindra Defense as part of the Modi administration's Make in India project.

The 155 mm/39-caliber howitzers can hit targets up to 30 km away, but in some places where the topography permits the rounds to travel in rarefied air, they can reach distances of more than 40 km.

The howitzers weigh 4,218 kg and are made of alloys of titanium and aluminium. The weight of 155mm towed guns is double that.

When the Chinook was required to fly from Chandigarh to Jorhat as part of an operational training job, it broke the record for the longest non-stop chopper sortie in India in April. In seven and a half hours, it covered 1,910 kilometres.

Bhardwaj and Rathore have been assigned to Chinook units at a time when more doors have opened for women in the armed forces: the army has allowed them to fly helicopters, the navy is allowing them to serve on warships with their male counterparts, and they will soon begin inducting them into the personnel below officer rank (PBOR) cadre. They are also now qualified for permanent commission in all three services. Additionally, this year saw the first-ever enrollment of female candidates at the National Defense Academy. When the IAF chose to induct women into the fighter stream in 2015, it marked one of the turning points for women in the military.