Sunday, March 8, 2015
Paramilitary Forces are being Looked after Well by Home Ministry.
by Deeptiman Tiwary,
Thanks to a host of measures taken by the government to ease pressure on security forces fighting Maoists and positive expectations from the seventh pay commission, lesser number of men in uniform are hanging up their boots. For the first time in the past five years, the cumulative annual attrition from paramilitary forces has dropped below 10,000.
According to latest home ministry data, in 2014, only 7,700 odd personnel quit various central armed police forces (CAPFs) as against over 11,000 in 2013 and 13, 000 in 2012.
Sources say the positive change has come about following various measures taken by the government (both UPA and NDA) to ease the hardship of men fighting in Maoist areas and the borders. What has also contributed to the low attrition are expectations of better remuneration from the seventh pay commission next year. It has led to those planning voluntary retirement holding back their decision.
Past few years have seen heavy attrition from forces due to denial of leave, consistent posting in hard areas, poor working conditions, lack of pay parity and separation from family. Between 2009 and 2012, over 44,000 personnel had quit paramilitary forces either through resignations or by opting for voluntary retirement. During the period, more paramilitary men committed suicide (398) than died fighting terrorists (328). The situation had got government so alarmed that it hired the services of IIM-Ahmedabad to look into the reasons for such a high churn and suggest remedies.
These remedies seem to be bearing fruits now. Attrition from two of the largest forces--CRPF and BSF, which face tough working conditions, usually are constantly engaged in battle with Maoists or Pakistani forces and suffer serious career stagnation issues—has dropped significantly. From 4,492 CRPF men quitting the force in 2013, attrition in the force has dropped to 2,788 in 2014. In BSF too the figure has dropped from 4,020 to 2,583.
A home ministry official said, "Although, attrition from the forces has never been more than 1-2%, a rising trend in the recent past had alarmed us. A lot of steps were taken in the past few years to prevent these attritions."
Some of these steps, ushered in by UPA and pushed by NDA, include a rational and fair leave policy, regular interaction among commanders and troops, well-regulated duty hours to provide optimum rest, improved living conditions in barracks and field formations, retention of housing in last posting to ensure education of children of the forces remain undisturbed, increased hardship and risk allowance and better medical facilities among others.
CAPF personnel, however, say a lot remains to be done. "Pay parity has not been implemented completely vis a vis armed forces for same postings. Officers are still fighting for financial upgradation ( NFU ) in case of stalled promotions. Operating in Naxal areas is still as difficult and stressful as ever. Forces like ITBP have virtually no peace posting," said a CAPF officer.
He also pointed out how voluntary retirement attritions had dropped drastically and not resignations. While voluntary retirement attritions have dropped almost 40% from 8,475 in 2013 to 4,960 in 2014, resignations have dropped by only 10% from 1,744 in 2013 to 1,568 in 2014. "This is because those looking to take VRS have held back their decision in anticipation of getting better remuneration, and thus better pension, from seventh pay commission due in 2016," the officer said.