In addition to these cases of voluntary retirement, 5,220 trained men and officers resigned from service between 2007 and 2011. Over 461 suicides and 64 instances of fratricides were also reported during this period, painting a dismal picture of the prevailing service condition in India paramilitary forces.
As if attrition due to VRS, resignation, suicides and fratricides was not enough, the six CAPF lost as many as 3,600 personnel in the last five years due to sickness. CRPF tops the tally of such casualty with 1,464 deaths during the last four years followed by 875 casualties by BSF.
The six CAPF include Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force, Sasashtra Seema Bal, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Force and the Assam Rifles.
Only the elite National Security Guards, a completely deputationist force, is apparently in sound health and data has not been compiled for it.
According to an assessment of the Union Home Ministry, the number of VRS (voluntary retirement scheme) cases is “very high” over the years in all the forces.
“The rate of VRS in BSF has been alarmingly high and in the ITBP it is very low, while both are border guarding forces,” says the dossier. The number of resignation cases is high in CRPF with 1,483 leaving service even before completing 20 years of service (a condition which provides for seeking VRS) between 2007 and 2011 (till September). The number of resignation cases among other CAPFs includes 1679 of CISF, followed 924 from BSF, 646 from SSB, 351 from ITBP and 137 from Assam Rifles.
Analysing the trend of resignation cases, the Ministry has noted that CRPF and BSF have “alarming” rate of increase (more than 70 per cent in 2011 over 2010) and all the forces have increasing trend of resignation except Assam Rifles, which has shown a decreasing trend during the last three years.
The trend of resignation and VRS cases, according to the Union Home Ministry, shows that the Government has not been fully able to address the problems of the personnel, provide them with conducive and motivated work environment and thus losing trained manpower.
Other factors, according to the Government assessment include lack of job satisfaction and stagnation (a constable takes 18-20 years to be promoted to Head Constable and an assistant commandant takes 15-16 years to be promoted to next rank of second-in-command and takes about 30 years to become commandant), better avenues in the private sector, inability to stay with family and to attend domestic duties and ineffective grievance redressal mechanisms.
“Immediate actions are required to be taken up for mitigating this situation,” says the report.
Insiders said the reasons for rising attrition are due to lack of career progression. In the absence of organised service status, jawans and officers are denied time-bound promotion and related monetary benefits and job satisfaction.
The issue of denial of an organised service is more frustrating as the Department of Personnel and Training has not issued a notification to the effect despite recommendations from various Parliamentary committee reports.
If this was not enough, the personnel are denied functional pay due to lack of an organised service and the system adopted by the CAPFs is to grant vacancy-based promotion coupled with a rider that six to 20 years of service for promotion from the rank of assistant commandant to Deputy Inspector General.
Due to the lack of an organised service and a bar on forming association by the cadre officers, the IPS lobby that heads the top echelons of the CAPFs, invariably pitch for its own interest.
The IPS officers, on deputation for a limited period in CAPFs, call the shots, but the rules do not allow the cadre officers to reach the top notwithstanding better training and vast exposure to varied field experiences.
The IPS officers hardly lead the force from the front and enjoy the benefits by being posted in the urban centres of the forces’ establishments, sources said, adding the time has come to at least grant the post of Director General to the cadre officers on rotation basis along with the IPS officers so that motivation levels are kept high.
The deployment of IPS officers in large numbers in CAPFs, sources said, has resulted in a sorry state of affairs as they are not trained to tackle high-stress insurgency and other challenges like Naxalism.
On the increasing cases of suicides, the Ministry notes that CRPFs have seen sharp increase in suicides during 2011 over 2010 but Assam Rifles has the lowest rate of suicides. ITBP has also been able to address the issue effectively. In recent years, BSF has the highest rate of suicides followed by CRPF and SSB.
On fratricidal killings the report notes, “the CRPFs have been constantly been facing alarmingly high number of cases of fratricides.” BSF and CISF face one or two cases almost every year. SSB has also started facing this problem by having one case in 2009 and one instance in 2011. Fratricide is rarely seen in ITBP and Assam Rifles.”
While Assam Rifles performed poorly in VRS cases, the rate of suicides and fratricides is very low.
Reasons for increasing case of fratricides and suicides, according to the Ministry, are stress and frustration, domestic problems, denial of leave and separation from families. In some cases, humiliation by senior officers or colleagues triggers the violent behaviour.
Other reasons for high number of casualties include encounter, ambush and landmine attacks and the strategy is to minimise this number is urgently needed.
“Death due to sickness accounts for more than 50 per cent of total casualties in CAPFs. More than 3,600 people have lost their life due to sickness during the last five years,” says the report, adding the rate of death due to sickness is highest in CRPF followed by BSF.
The Ministry has advised the forces to urgently improve the situation and find out the reasons for manifold increase of deaths in CRPF due to “other reasons” during 2009 and 2011. CISF has suffered highest number of deaths due to “other reasons” and the force has been advised to ascertain those reasons.
In its bid to address the increasing trend of VRS, resignation, suicides and fratricides, the Ministry has advised the CAPFs to ensure better career progression of the jawans and cadre officials, adopt a liberal and rational transfer policy having scope for choice posting besides appointment of qualified psychologists and stress counselors.
The CAPFs have also been advised to adopt a liberal system of grievance redressal having more humane approach and a time-bound outcome so as to avoid stress till the last minute of the result.
Number of VRS Cases between 2007-2011 (till Sep)
Assam Rifles 5,601
Total in 5 years 45,981