The year 2019 was significant for India’s internal security for two reasons. First, the security forces faced unprecedented challenges in Kashmir and in the northeast due to various threats as well as some policy measures of the Narendra Modi government. Second, and rather unfortunately, a section of the Central Armed Police Forces was engaged in an acrimonious campaign to oust their IPS leadership.
The border guarding forces and the armed police maintained by the central government have grown rapidly since the 1960s owing to disputes with China and Pakistan, growing internal security challenges like militancy in Punjab and Kashmir, and the rise of Left-wing extremism (LWE).
The Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) were raised and nurtured by the Indian Police Service (IPS) officers. But over time, states began to show reluctance in sparing young IPS officers. Besides, state police forces too have undergone expansion with the creation of new districts.
This led to a shortfall of IPS leadership in the CAPF. In response, successive governments expanded the recruitment of cadre officers in the CAPF. So far, the policy consensus had been that the CAPF officer cadre will play a supporting role to the IPS officers who will provide strategic leadership. That consensus is now being challenged.
Cracks in apparatus
Matters have come to a head, especially in the past one year, due to two separate developments.
First is the issue of salaries. The Sixth Pay Commission accorded all Organised Group A Service (OGAS) with Non-Functional Financial Upgrade (NFFU), that is, a rise in pay irrespective of vacancies in the next promotional pay scale.