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Central Armed Police Forces Reforms UPSC

Central Armed Police

The Indian government shared with the Lok Sabha that over the past decade, around 1,200 paramilitary troopers took their own lives. The years 2020 and 2021 saw a higher number of suicides among Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel, likely influenced by the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Various factors, including personal issues, health issues, and financial difficulties, contributed to these tragic incidents.

What are Central Armed Police Forces?

  • Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF): They help with keeping the peace within the country and dealing with insurgencies.
  • Central Industrial Security Force (CISF): They’re like the guardians of important places such as airports and public sector facilities, ensuring their safety.
  • National Security Guards (NSG): This is a special force focused on countering terrorism, handling situations that require a high level of expertise.
  • Border Security Force (BSF): They are responsible for guarding our borders to maintain security.
  • Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP): Similar to BSF, but specifically looking after our borders with Tibet.
  • Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB): They play a crucial role in guarding our borders, ensuring safety and security.
  • Assam Rifles (AR): Involved in safeguarding the borders and maintaining peace, especially in the northeastern regions of the country.

What are Major Functions of CAPFs?

  • Border Security: Keep our borders safe and make sure people living in border areas feel secure. Stop crimes like smuggling and unauthorized entry or exit from India.
  • Industrial Security: Protect important places and people who are at risk.
  • Other Functions:
    • Counter Insurgency Operations: Take action against rebellious activities.
    • Anti Naxal Operations: Work against Naxalite movements.
    • Internal Security Duties: Keep things safe within the country.
    • VIP Protection: Ensure the safety of important people.
    • Lead Intelligence Agency: Take the lead in gathering and analyzing intelligence.
    • Security To Diplomatic Missions Abroad: Keep our diplomats safe in other countries.
    • United Nations(UN) Peacekeeping Operations: Contribute to UN peacekeeping missions.
    • Disaster Management: Help manage and respond to disasters.
    • Civic Action Nodal Agency for UN Police Missions: Coordinate civic activities for UN police missions.

What are Associated Issues with CAPFs?

  • Long Working Hours: Back in 2017, the Standing Committee on Home Affairs raised concerns about the tough working conditions faced by our border guarding forces. They were working incredibly long shifts, around 16-18 hours a day, leaving them with very little time for rest or sleep.
  • Inadequate Medical Facilities: The committee also noted that the medical facilities at border locations were not up to the mark, causing dissatisfaction among the personnel.
  • Disparities in Pay and Allowances: The Armed Forces and the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) were not being treated equally when it came to pay and allowances, according to the Standing Committee. This created a sense of inequality among the personnel.
  • Modernization Efforts: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was working on modernizing the CAPFs by providing them with better arms, ammunition, and vehicles. However, the procurement process under this plan was found to be slow and complicated by the Estimates Committee.
  • State Dependence on CAPFs: States heavily relied on CAPFs for everyday law and order issues, which had negative consequences for anti-insurgency and border guarding operations. This also affected the training needs of these forces.
  • Management Challenges: Each of the seven CAPFs had its own cadre of officers, but they were all headed by officers from the Indian Police Service. This leadership structure had a demoralizing effect on CAPF officers and impacted the overall effectiveness of the forces. There were also frustrations due to a lack of promotions and a stagnant cadre review.
  • Rising Fratricide Cases: Since 2019, there have been over 25 incidents of fratricide within the forces. This trend is a matter of serious concern and needs attention to address the root causes.

Way Forward

Modernizing CAPFs:

  • Make sure the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) figures out and fixes any issues in buying stuff.
  • Training should cover both regular stuff and cool new technologies like computers and cybersecurity because of the fancy warfare we have now.

Boosting State Power:

  • States need to improve their own systems and make their police better with good training and gear.
  • The central government should help out with money and whatever else states need to make their forces stronger.

Fixing Cadre Policy:

  • Because people aren’t happy with the Cadre policy, the Joshi Committee said the big jobs should go to people from the same CAPF group.
  • Also, the Committee said we should review and fix all the CAPF groups in a set amount of time. Let’s get on that ASAP.

People Changes:

  • Have regular workshops to help CAPF folks deal with stress.
  • Make yoga and meditation a part of their daily routine.
  • Maybe think about giving them a place close to where they work so they can see their family more.

Read Also: Assam-Meghalaya Border Dispute

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