Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

May the Force be strengthened

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 3-Role played by CRPF in the internal security of the country and problems faced by the force.

Context

The functioning of the CRPF needs to be revisited.

Historical background and present status of CRPF

  • Crown Representative Police: In the wake of Independence, a contentious administrative issue was over the retention of CRP (Crown Representative Police).
    • The question over the relevance of the force: As the Constitution designated ‘law and order’ as a State subject, the relevance of having a Central police force was questioned by everyone
    • But Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel argued vehemently and boldly in favour of it.
  • Present-day relevance of the force
    • From having just two battalions as the CRP, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has now expanded to being a three-and-a-half lakh-strong force.
    • Consisting of specialist wings like-
    • The Rapid Action Force.
    • The COBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action).
    • The Special Duty Group.
    • Largest Paramilitary force: It is the largest paramilitary force in the world and no other security force of the country has seen expansion at such a rapid rate.
  • Importance of the force
    • Security to the country: Providing integrated security to a diverse country of continental size is not an easy task.
    • Immediate solution situation: Resolving certain conflicts requires immediate solutions for which regular armed forces cannot be deployed.
    • Peacekeeper of the nation: For the reason cited above, we require paramilitary forces, and the CRPF is the most sought-after one because of its flexibility and versatility.
    • The force has earned its place as the ‘peacekeeper of the nation’.

Problems faced by the CRPF

  • A year after Pulwama attack, it is time for the nation to take a relook at the main agency dealing with conflicts in different territorial zones. The following 3 are the major concerns of the force.
  • 1. Pressure taking its toll: The frequent movements lock, stock and barrel are taking its toll.
    • There are increasing cases of suicides and fratricides.
    • The anguish caused because of prolonged periods of duty away from one’s family members adds to the pressure experienced the soldiers having their fingers constantly on the trigger guard.
  • What is being done or needs to be done to address the problem?
    • 100-days leave: Though the Home Minister recently stated that CRPF jawans would get to spend 100 days with their families every year, considering the present levels of commitment, 100 days of leave is an impossible dream for a soldier.
    • Need to revisit the decision of assigning exclusive operations: An easier way out here would be to revisit the government’s decision on tasking specific Central Paramilitary Forces exclusively with certain operations.
    • It should be compulsory for recruits to all Central Police Forces to be deployed to anti-insurgency roles during their first 15 years of service.
    • They can be shifted, in the next 10 years, to border duties.
    • The last phase of their career should be in static duties.
  • 2. Rehabilitation of retired personnel
    • Care of welfare and morale: As the Force is deployed to the last man, the welfare and morale of the soldiers need to be taken care of.
    • No rehabilitation policy: A large number of personnels are taking voluntary retirement, but there is no rehabilitation policy.
  • What is being done or needs to be done to address the problem?
    • The creation of a Welfare and Rehabilitation Board has not made any impact. Provision of canteen facilities, without tax exemption, hardly gives the soldiers any relief.
    • Another demand that needs to be considered is that of One Rank, One Pension scheme.
  • 3. Leadership issue
    • It is high time the Force develops home-grown leadership.
    • Elements like healthy work culture, ethos and regimentation are very crucial for any armed force and they are best guarded by officers born on the cadre.
  • Steps taken to address the issue
    • The long-overdue Non-Functional Financial Upgradation (NFU) materialised only after the judicial intervention.
    • However, the top leadership- made up of IPS officers on deputation- is reluctant to implement it.

Conclusion

The first anniversary of the Pulwama attacks should enable all stakeholders to devise ways and means to plug the loopholes and address the system failures in a Force that still remains the most formidable in internal security matters.

 

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