New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government is considering clubbing all Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) into one Indian Central Armed Police Service (ICAPS). The objective is to recruit officers for the forces through the UPSC, ThePrint has learnt.
At a meeting on 26 December, the government decided to recruit officers for the central police forces through the Civil Services Examination (CSE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for recruitment of officers for IAS, IPS, IRS and other services.
The CAPFs include the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), the Border Security Force (BSF), the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
Sources in the government said the change of name from CAPF to ICAPS would reflect a change in the status of the central police forces, bringing them on par with the other civil services. The proposal comes after the Supreme Court accorded the central police forces the Organised Group ‘A’ Status (OGAS) last year.
The recommendation was made in December 2019 when a committee headed by the border management secretary of the home ministry met to discuss a 2017 UPSC proposal, which had suggested making changes to the CAPF (assistant commandant) Examination, through which the central police officers are recruited.
The exam has not been reviewed since 2003.
However, in addition to revising the syllabus and pattern of the central police forces exam, the committee made a range of recommendations including combining its exam with the existing civil services exam. “As the GoI has declared the CAPF as OGAS, the recruitment can be made part of Civil Service Examination (Allied Service),” read the minutes of the meeting, accessed by ThePrint. “This will ensure uniformity and a yearly session among all CAPFs.”
‘Haphazard cadre management’
While the Civil Services Exam is held regularly every year, the central police force exam can be conducted at a gap of a year, a year-and-a-half or even two years. This, the sources said, has led to haphazard cadre management of the forces. “If officers for the CAPFs are recruited every year along with other services, it will lead to the scientific career management of the forces,” a central police force officer said.
The minutes of the meeting also said the UPSC should call the CAPFs ‘Indian Central Armed Police Service’ from hereon.
The sources said the change in the name from force to service will lead to a change in the “status” of the central police force officers. “After the CAPFs are made a service, they will be eligible to go on deputation under the Central Staffing Scheme, grow at par with other services, etc… It is a logical step after the forces were given OGAS,” a government official said.
The CAPF official quoted above also said the move will put an end to the hierarchy between civil servants and central police force officers. “Now, even CAPF officers will be known by their unified service, batches, etc… The orders of DoPT and UPSC will automatically apply to us, and we would not have to fight court cases to get the same rights as other service officers.”
A senior IPS officer, however, said the name change was only a technicality. “It does not by extension mean that CAPFs will become a civil service… The question to ask is that can a para-military force be given the status of civil services,” he said. “Is that not a contradiction?”
The officer also said it would be important to see if the proposed ICAPS cadre will be made interchangeable such that officers of the CRPF can be deployed to other forces and vice versa.
CAPFs to also undergo common foundation course
The central police forces will also be brought under the Common Foundation Course — an introductory course for freshly recruited civil servants, according to the minutes of the meeting. “This CSE pattern will also bring synergy between other Gr A services during the Common Foundation Course,” the minutes read.
The committee has also recommended that topics related to Ethics and Values, Internal Security scenario, etc. be added to the civil services exam. It can later be decided if the marks of these sections should be added in the final marks or not, said the panel.