There was a time when the Para-military forces (Central Police Organisations, now known as Central Armed Police Forces) used to look up to the defence services for inspiration. The defence services were the benchmark worth emulating.
The common lament amongst those serving in khakhi was that they were headed by outsiders and not by their own, that they were neither policemen nor faujis, that they were not granted facilities at par with their military counterparts though they too performed exacting duties.
The times have changed. Tables have turned.
Full credit goes to the Ministry of Home Affairs and also the heads of these organisations, who are from the Indian Police Service, for silently and effectively ensuring the much required welfare and comfort of the brave men and women of the CAPFs. Slowly and steadily they have not only ensured sensitivity towards members of the CAPFs but also taken care of the fact that they do not lag behind others in the facilities and benefits that they deserve.
Let’s run through some of the positive and well deserved changes brought about for CAPFs in the recent past:-
(a) Faster promotions and additional avenues: The promotions, both at non-gazetted and gazetted level, have been rationalized. Additional layers stand removed. For example, after the 6th CPC, the rank of Addl DIG stands abolished and officers are promoted from Commandant level directly to DIG. Also the rank of ADG has been introduced in many forces for cadre officers. Force heads have vouched for and strongly recommended improved cadre management including schemes of Assured Career Progression for the rank and file.
(b) Better posting profiles and deputations: Care is being taken for ensuring a balance between field and peace postings with emphasis on stability and optimum family life. Officers are also relieved for deputation on stable security related appointments in a smooth manner without citing any HR crunch.
(c) Facilities and benefits: The system of canteen services has been introduced and is going great guns without the red-tapism as is experienced in our CSD. Soon, it is expected to be better stocked and more effective than CSD.
(d) Ex-force status: As discussed earlier on this blog, soon members of CAPFs would also be granted additional facilities and benefits based on the status of their being ex-members of these forces in a similar manner of what is being done for ex-servicemen of the defence services.
(e) Pay and allowances: The pay-scales and allowances are on a constant upward swing and an example can be visualized from this blogpost by Mr Nitin Gokhale.
(f) Pensionary benefits: The Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare (DoPPW) deals with their pensions. An extremely sensitized department, it treats members of the CAPFs as its own and goes all out to alleviate their problems. For example when pension was abolished under the traditional system and the New (contributory) Pension Scheme was introduced for members of CAPFs, in order to overcome the difficulties of disabled personnel, it was decided that apart from the pension under the NPS, disabled personnel shall remain eligible even for regular disability pension under the Central Civil Services Extraordinary Pension Rules [CCS (EOP)] thereby bringing them the much required relief. The difference of attitude between the DoPPW and the Ministry of Defence has already been adequately discussed on this blog before.
(g) Litigation: Rarely would you find appeals being filed by the Govt against pensionary or disability benefits or welfare oriented schemes granted to members of the CAPFs, however our organizations, especially the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare and some elements of the Personnel Services Directorate, get sadist pleasure in challenging before the Supreme Court almost every case decided by judicial bodies in favour of disabled personnel. Isn’t it a matter of shame that almost 90% of Civil Appeals and SLPs filed by the Ministry of Defence in the Supreme Court are against their own disabled soldiers? Our own organisations are no different. When the AFT asked the Director General of Armed Forces Medical Service (DGAFMS) to honour the govt & AG’s Branch directions to grant limited outpatient medical facilities to non-pensioner ex-servicemen such as ECOs and SSCOs who are not members of ECHS, as already provided under existing policies, held hostage through blackmail by the office of the DGAFMS, the Army itself filed an appeal against the AFT order in the Supreme Court stating that these facilities should be withdrawn! Imagine, the Army tacitly filing a case in the SC against its own existing policy seeking directions to the Army itself that it (the Army) should be stopped from providing limited facilities to its own personnel, some of them in their 80s and 90s! Would the word shameful be enough?
These were only a few examples. The care and sensitivity displayed by those at the helm of the CAPFs and also the MHA is deeply appreciable and is worth emulating by the Ministry of Defence and the three defence services. Let us salute the brave men and women in uniform of the CAPFs who truly deserve the best, and also their leaders for standing by them!
Yes, the tables have turned. It’s time for the defence services to look up to the CAPFs!