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Budget 2023: Central Armed Police Forces want funds for infra, equipment, training & communication

Annual 'marginal increase' in budget allocation goes in salaries & allowances, leaving little for development & modernisation, say officers part of forces that make up the CAPF.

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New Delhi: Funds for infrastructure development in border areas, better equipment with latest technology for disaster management, training and operations and a robust communication system — this is what the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) is expecting from the 2023 Union budget, to be announced Wednesday, CAPF officials told ThePrint.

According to multiple sources in the CAPFs, each year funds for them see only a marginal increase, most of which goes into salaries, allowances and other wages, with only a little left over for the development and modernisation of the organisation.

Although a separate fund is also earmarked for modernisation of the forces, focus on infrastructure development and better training and equipment, is often ignored owing to lack of funds, claimed sources.

“Money for infrastructure, technological advancement and security-related equipment — which includes drones, early warning systems, equipment to enhance reaction time, for better training, intelligence gathering and operations — is what needs to be focussed on,” a source in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) said. “After taking into account the salaries, allowances, the forces are mostly short of money for procurements,” the source added.

A source in the Border Security Force (BSF) also said, “Funds are not adequate for infrastructure development and the funds for capital expenditure should be increased”.

Both the CRPF and the BSF are part of the CAPF, as are the Assam Rifles, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), National Security Guard (NSG) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).

In the previous budget, in 2022, the Ministry of Home Affairs — to which the CAPF rolls up — was allocated Rs 1,85,776.55 crore — a more than 11 per cent increase over the Rs 1,66,547 crore allotted in the previous fiscal year.

In the case of the CAPF or the paramilitary forces, however, the budget allocated was Rs 87,444.06 crore, a little over seven per cent more than the Rs 81,396 crore allocated in the 2021-22 financial year.

Last year, as a new feature, funds were allocated for the modernisation of the CAPF, to equip the forces with modern, state-of-the-art weapons and equipment, according to their operational requirement, keeping in view their deployment pattern in different sectors. Besides, upgraded IT solutions were also to be provided to CAPF. The plan announced a total financial outlay of Rs.1,523 crore between 1 February 2022 and 31 March 2026.

According to last year’s budget documents, among the forces that are a part of the CAPF, the highest allocation was made for the CRPF — Rs 29,324.92 crore, followed by Rs 22,718.45 crore for the BSF, Rs 12,201.90 crores for the CISF, Rs 7,653.73 crore for the SSB, Rs 7,461.28 crore for the ITBP, Rs 6,658.41 crore for Assam Rifles and Rs 1,293.37 crore for the NSG. The budget of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) was also increased by around 10 per cent, to Rs 3,168.36 crore last year.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Delhi Police, both of which also roll up to the Ministry of Home Affairs, also have similar expectations from the budget.

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Better accommodation, technology for disaster relief

With climate change there has been an increase in episodes of natural disasters, which requires the latest technology relief operations and the next budget should focus on that, a source in the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said.

“It is a small organisation, but with an increase in episodes of natural disasters, duties of personnel are becoming prolonged. It will be good if special focus is given to modernise the force and provide funds for equipment with the latest technology, keeping in mind the operations at tough locations,” the source added.

A source in the Delhi police stressed on the need for funds to procure more vehicles for the department, including bulletproof cars and a better communication system, which would increase the efficiency of the force.

“There is always a fund crunch for procurement of new vehicles which includes bulletproof cars, buses, riot control vehicles and also PCR vans that have cameras on their dashboards that are essential for monitoring purposes. Moreover, a robust communication system, which includes new updated wireless sets, is required. These may sound like small procurement, but take a lot of time to clear and become a challenge with limited funds,” the source claimed.

In the case of the Delhi police, which also reports to the MHA, the allocation last year was reduced to Rs 10,096.29 crore from the allocation of Rs 11,136.22 crore in 2021.

Meanwhile, a source in ITBP pointed out the need for infrastructure development along the borders where soldiers are posted at far-flung locations that are very cold, inaccessible and moreover sensitive.

“It is very important that they feel secure and are given proper accommodation and money should certainly be earmarked for that,” the source said.

A second source in the BSF added, “Soldiers live on borders where facilities are not proper, that has to be addressed.”

Border management allocation was increased from Rs 1,921.39 crore in 2021-22 to Rs 2,517.02 crore in 2022-23, while border infrastructure was allocated Rs 2,744 crore, up from Rs 2,130 crore in 2021-22.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also readBudget 2023 will continue Modi’s infrastructure push. But older projects lag


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