New Delhi: The Narendra Modi-government may have approved the proposal to grant the status of organised cadre services to the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), but paramilitary personnel still fear that IPS officers may circumvent the new rules to scuttle their career growth.
Worried that the ‘IPS lobby’ will not allow CAPF officers to avail benefits they are now entitled to, several retired officers from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) – the oldest paramilitary force in the country – have sought a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah.
Former Inspector Generals of Police (CRPF) – V.P.S. Panwar and S.S. Sandhu – have written to Shah requesting him for a meeting.
According to sources in the government, Shah is expected to visit the CRPF headquarters in Delhi on 29 July.
Given that serving officers in the force are bound by their service rules, and still report to IPS officers, the retired officers are in a better situation to express concerns of the forces, a serving CRPF officer told ThePrint.
“IPS officers are suddenly scared that they will lose hold over their fiefdom. They can do everything to scuttle our rights,” the senior officer said, on condition of anonymity.
‘Vested interests not inclined to execute order’
The Union Cabinet on 3 July gave its nod to the proposal to grant Non-Functional Financial Upgradation (NFFU) and other pay benefits to officers of the paramilitary forces, which their counterparts in all ‘Group A’ organised services are entitled to.
“Despite the fact that the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued directions for implementation of the above order, the general perception prevailing in the minds of the officers is that the vested interests are still not inclined to execute the orders in a holistic manner,” Sandhu, a 1976 batch officer, has written in his letter addressed to Shah.
While the Cabinet’s nod now allows CAPF officers to head their own forces, it will still require framing of new rules for the cadre. The CAPF personnel worry that IPS officers will use all their clout in the government to “delay” this.
According to the Department of Personnel and Training rules, in ‘Group A’ organised services, appointments up to the position of SDG can take place only through promotions and lateral entry or appointments through deputation is only permissible if the former is not possible.
“Efforts are still being made to deny the rightful benefits and career aspirations of these officers,” Sandhu’s letter says.
Seeking “an exclusive hearing” for the officers of the CRPF, the letter further states: “I am afraid that efforts are being made by hectic and active parlance among DGs (directors general) and senior IPS officers to find ways and means to delay the implementation of government orders according to the guidelines of DoPT.”
“According to the circulated programme of your visit to the CRPF headquarters on 29 July, even the serving cadre officers have not been included for any interaction with you lest the design of the IPS officers brought to your kind knowledge by them,” the letter further reads.
‘Deep roots of discrimination’
Both Panwar and Sandhu have cited the absence of a proper platform for retired CAPF officers to bring forth their grievances before the government. This, CAPF officers believe, is in contrast to to the Indian Army and other armed forces, which have designated platforms to voice their protest.
According to the serving CRPF officer quoted above: “The roots of discrimination against them are so deep that the initial jubilation among CAPF officers has been shadowed by some real concerns.”
Sandhu’s letter also throws light on other specific concerns. According to it, since 2008, “not a single post of policy decision-making has ever been given to (an) experienced officer of the cadre.”
“This is a pertinent point which needs attention of the Hon’ble Home Minister.”
“The post of IG (personnel) which deals with promotions, posting and establishment matters of officers, ministerial cadre, subordinate officers, cadre reviews, disciplinary proceedings also vigilance matters have been held by an IPS officer for the last more than four decades,” the letter further contends.
“These are deliberate efforts to project the cadre officers in poor light not only before the government but also in the eyes of their own subordinates.”
Serving CRPF officers also say that they cannot transfer or post their own subordinates even after 30-35 years of service and this dampens the morale of the entire force, diminishes their authority in front of their subordinates.
Similarly, the post of inspector general (operations) – which deals with operational matters and deployment of forces – and the inspector general (northern sector) – which deals with allocation of resources such as vehicles, infrastructure and accommodation – have all been kept “under IPS control,” Sandhu’s letter states.
“The reason for this is to keep the cadre officers out of decision making and authoritative positions to run their writ and to utilise the force and its resources as per their whims and fancies,” the letter reads.
In a separate letter to Shah, Panwar, who spent 39 years in service, has said it is important that the home minister is aware of the difficulties faced by both the retired and serving officers of the force so that “privations can be adequately addressed for future generation of officers and their families…”
This would “motivate them to perform their duties and serve the country with more zeal, dedication and determination.”