The number of those who have preferred to trade their uniforms for civvies is close to the total strength of Assam Rifles – the oldest of these forces. The extent of job disaffection is particularly worrying in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Border Security Force (BSF).
The details were divulged in a recent internal document circulated by the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) among the directors general of all these forces. The report, which has been accessed by MAIL TODAY , termed the trend ” alarming” prompting the Union government to turn to IIM, Ahmedabad.
Consequently, a crack team from the prestigious management institute which imparts lessons in corporate warfare has now got down to the business of devising a strategy for improving job satisfaction levels among officers and jawans of paramilitary forces .
Official sources said IIM- A had been engaged as a consultant to design a long- term plan for stress management among paramilitary forces by way of an” extensive study covering officials of the BSF and CRPF”. Dheeraj Sharma, the institute’s associate professor who is heading the study, declined to comment saying the matter was ” confidential and sensitive”. While the CRPF and BSF are the biggest and most crucial central paramilitary organisations, others include the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo- Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
“The CRPF and BSF have witnessed an alarming rate of increase ( more than 70 per cent) in the exodus in 2011 over 2010,” the document, in which data has been collated till September 2011, revealed.
It added that the frequency of resignations was also abnormally high in the CISF, which protects airports and industries.
This force saw 37 jawans out of 10,000 quitting in 2010 and 31 leaving by September 2011, according to the MHA document.
The trend was maintained despite the CISF’s plum citybased postings being the most sought after by personnel.
“Paramilitary forces have become a favourite punching bag for politicians, the media and human rights activists. The morale of the personnel is not particularly high and there is a feeling that the government is not fair to them even as they are expected to lay down their lives to defend the country,” Prakash Singh, a former BSF director general, told M AIL T ODAY . Dr S. A. Asghar, former IG ( medical), BSF, delved into the psychological aspect of the problem.
He said personnel in the field were often stressed because they had to work ” against the normal pattern of life”. They always face threats from different quarters, be it from militants or enemy forces on the border, he added.
Officers of the paramilitary forces, too, were pressing the eject button. In fact, in the case of the CRPF, they prefer to deposit anywhere between Rs.2.5 and Rs.3 lakh to leave before the mandatory period as they are finding opportunities in the private sector.
An MHA official said the dissatisfaction level was so high that as many as 30 out of 190 CRPF officers of the 2005 batch had moved out, even though they had to shell out the training money spent on them by the force.
Singh said the shrill condemnation of the CRPF for allegedly killing civilians in an encounter in Chhattisgarh in June- end was an indication of the problems they faced. ” There is no defending the killing of civilians. But there has been little attempt to understand the conditions of a force patrolling treacherous jungles in the dead of night with little idea about where the bullet is coming from. Any other force would have acted in a similar way and the flak they have received will drive more officers to quit,” the BSF ex- chief observed.
Ajai Raj Sharma, a former BSF DG and Delhi Police ex- commissioner, said the CRPF was always on the move and BSF personnel were permanently entrenched in distant border locations. ” They hardly get to spend time with their families. There is a need to allow them more relaxation and time with family members to check this trend,” he pointed out.
Asghar concurred and said: ” Many officers don’t get ample leaves to spend time with their near and dear ones. Since they speak to family members almost every day over the phone, domestic problems play on their minds.” Nikhil Kumar, the Nagaland governor and former DG of the NSG as well as ITBP, said the attrition rate appeared to be quite high and a detailed study was required.
” I welcome the MHA’s decision to engage IIM, Ahmedabad. The exercise should throw up concrete reasons behind the trend,” Kumar, who also headed the Delhi Police formerly, said.
The MHA note further disclosed that the rate of those opting for the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) in the BSF was ” alarmingly high”. Out of every 10,000 personnel, 254 took VRS in 2010. In the following year, 226 of them had exercised the option by September 2011.
The major concern for the CRPF was resignation by its personnel.
VRS can be availed only after 20 years of service. But officers can put in their papers any time, subject to the acceptance of the resignation by the management. For every 10,000 CRPF personnel, 345 quit in 2010 and as many as 406 had left by September 2011.
The suicide rate in the force has also seen a sharp jump. By September last year, 36 personnel had ended their lives.
-via India Today.