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BSF proposal to offer commandant posts to IPS officers; Read on…

While a proposal to bar IPS officers from central deputation if they have not previously served as an SP or DIG with the Centre is still pending with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Home Affairs is considering another proposal to open commandant-level positions in the Border Security Force to IPS officers. IPS officers can only join forces like the CRPF, BSF, and ITBP if they reach the rank of DIG or higher. The measure will result in more IPS personnel being appointed to SP positions in central armed police forces and central police organizations, since 50% of such positions are empty.

The proposal, which was given to the ministry earlier this month, requested that the border guarding force’s recruitment regulations be changed so that IPS officers can be deputized at the commandant level. The plan has angered CAPF members, who believe that if it is accepted for the BSF, it will eventually be adopted by the CRPF and ITBP. The aforementioned forces’ cadre officers have been experiencing significant career stagnation, and there is concern that reserving more posts for IPS officers may aggravate the matter.

‘They have already reserved 40% posts at the DIG level for themselves even though rarely it happens that DIGs come on deputation, and the posts remain vacant. Now, they want to stifle our promotion chances further by claiming a share in the commandant pie as well. If the MHA approves this proposal, we are going to challenge it in court,’ a senior CAPF official said.

CAPF officers have already filed many court cases seeking that IPS deputations at the DIG level be abolished or the quota be decreased because positions are perpetually vacant. They claim that many officers are retiring at the assistant commandant level, which is the entry-level position in the CAPFs, due to a lack of promotion opportunities in the forces. They claim that this has demoralized officers and resulted in a high rate of attrition in the armed forces.

The MHA recently sent a letter to all CAPFs requesting for feedback on a plan to rename second-in-command posts in the CAPF ‘Additional Commandant’. According to the MHA, this was necessary because officers retiring at 2IC levels found it difficult to explain their rank to the general public because it had no equivalent in any other force, and hence faced shame. According to CAPF sources, this is an admission that a high number of CAPF officials are retiring at the 2IC level.

IPS officers, on the other hand, argue that the decision is a prelude to what the government plans in terms of IPS deputation, rather than a punishment for CAPF officials. ‘The Centre is taking a number of initiatives to ensure that states provide the quota of IPS officers for central deputation that has been set. As numerous proposals in this regard are passed and accepted by the states, the Centre will require adequate postings to accommodate these personnel. In addition, we now have IPS batches as large as 200. Where would these officers be housed?’ enquired a senior IPS official.

This was also viewed as operationally vital by IPS officers in the BSF. ‘The commandant is a field officer who has direct command of the units. So, if an IPS officer joins at the commandant level, he will have hands-on field experience and will command respect among the rank and file when he moves up to senior positions because he has completed the field assignment,’ an officer explained, adding that similar arrangements already exist in the SSB and CISF.

The MHA has forwarded a recommendation to the PMO prohibiting any further central deputation for IPS personnel who do not join the Centre at the SP or DIG level. For any further deputation with the Centre, an IPS officer must have served for at least three years at the IG level in the central government.


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