Proposal to open commandant posts in BSF for IPS officers

Even as a proposal to debar IPS officers from central deputation if they don’t have a prior stint with the Centre as SP or DIG remains pending with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Home Affairs is considering another proposal to open commandant-level posts in the Border Security Force for IPS officers.

Currently, IPS officers can join forces such as CRPF, BSF and ITBP only at the level of DIG and above. The move will create more posts for IPS officers at the SP-level in the central armed police forces and central police organisations where 50% such posts are vacant.

The proposal, sent by the BSF to the ministry earlier this month, has asked for change in recruitment rules of the border guarding force to ensure IPS can come on deputation at the commandant level.

The proposal has caused much disappointment in the rank and file of the CAPFs who are of the opinion that if it is approved for the BSF, it will eventually find its way to the CRPF and ITBP. The cadre officers of the said forces have been facing severe career stagnation and there is apprehension that reserving more posts for the IPS officers will only exacerbate the problem.

“They have already reserved 40% posts at the DIG level for themselves even though rarely it happens that DIGs come on deputation, and the posts remain vacant. Now, they want to stifle our promotion chances further by claiming a share in the commandant pie as well. If the MHA approves this proposal, we are going to challenge it in court,” a senior CAPF official said.

Already, CAPF officers have filed multiple petitions in courts, demanding that IPS deputations at DIG-level be abolished or the quota reduced as posts remain perennially vacant. They have argued that because of non-availability of promotional avenues in the forces, many officers are retiring at assistant commandant level, which is the entry-level post in the CAPFs. This, they have argued, has had demoralising effect on the officers and has led to high
attrition rate in the forces.

Recently, the MHA wrote to all CAPFs asking for their opinion on a proposal to change the designation of second-in-command ranks in the CAPF to “Additional Commandant”. The MHA wrote that this was required as officers retiring at 2IC levels found it difficult to explain their rank to the society as it had no parallel in any other force and thus faced embarrassment. CAPF sources said this was an admission of the fact that a large number of CAPF officers were retiring at 2IC level.

IPS officers, however, argue that the move is not aimed at making CAPF officers suffer, rather is a preparation for what the government is planning in terms of IPS deputation. “The Centre is taking many steps to ensure states send the quota of IPS officers as fixed for central deputation. In due course, as various proposals in this direction are passed and accepted by the states, the Centre will need to have enough posts available to accommodate these officers. Also, now, we are having IPS batches as large as 200. Where will these officers be accommodated,” a senior IPS officer asked.

According to IPS officers in the BSF, this was also seen to be operationally important. “The commandant is a field officer with units being directly under him. So, if an IPS officer joins at commandant level, he will have hands-on field experience and will also command respect among the rank and file when he goes to senior posts as he has done the field assignment,” an officer said, adding that in the SSB and CISF such arrangements already exist.

The MHA recently sent a proposal to the PMO to bar IPS officers who do not join the Centre at SP or DIG level from any further central deputation. Currently, an IPS officer must have at least three years of central deputation at IG level for any further deputation with the Centre.

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