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IPS and CAPF Officers’ Split Wide Open over Benefits; Many Raise Concerns about Impact in Valley Peace

The bone of contention for this rift is NFFU or Non-Functional Financial Upgradation, a status that would open up promotion and financial avenues for cadre officials and reduce deputation opportunities for the IPS officers.

Arunima | CNN-News18Arunima24

Updated:August 31, 2019, 5:59 PM IST
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IPS and CAPF Officers’ Split Wide Open over Benefits; Many Raise Concerns about Impact in Valley Peace
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New Delhi: At a time when the paramilitary forces are facing their biggest challenge in recent times — of maintaining peace in Kashmir — a deep discontent is brewing among cadres. News18 spoke to several officers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF) and other Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and came to know about simmering discontent and mistrust among Indian Police Service (IPS) officers leading the CAPFs and their subordinate cadre officers.

The bone of contention for this rift is NFFU or Non-Functional Financial Upgradation, a status that would open up promotion and financial avenues for cadre officials and reduce deputation opportunities for the IPS officers.

In February, the Supreme Court had, in a ruling, recognised the status of ‘Organised Group A Service’ for paramilitary cadre officers. The recognition meant paramilitary officers could now be eligible for better financial emoluments under NFFU and Non-Functional Selection Grade (NFSG). On July 3, the Union Cabinet accorded the ‘Organised Group A Service’ (OGAS) status to senior officers of the CAPF and also approved extension of NFFU and NFSG benefits. After the government informed the Supreme Court of its decision, the apex court set a deadline of two months for the financial benefits to reach the petitioners —cadre officers.

A month to go before deadline ends, cadre officers say the IPS lobby is scuttling the government’s attempts to adhere to the SC order and extend them the benefits. “The IPS lobby is very strong. It has been able to influence the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Now, it is citing recruitment rules to deny benefits. The IPS officers have communicated to us that recruitment rules can’t be amended with retrospective effect and if that doesn’t happen, only 5 per cent officers will receive the benefits promised by the Supreme Court to all of us. For example, in the BSF, only about 75 of the 3,500 will be granted the benefits. The IPS lobby’s strategy is to submit this list of beneficiaries in the SC and bring the matter to an end,” a deputy commandant of the BSF told News18.

A former inspector general-rank officer of the CAPF, who has just gone back to the state police and has been keenly following the case, said there was no question of not following the SC order, but NFFU benefits can only be extended, according to a notification the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) of 2009. “This frenzy is pointless. No one is defying the Supreme Court, but if you want the 2009 notification to be amended, if you want benefits retrospectively, it will take time.”

However, an assistant commandant said the government had amended recruitment rules for veterinary doctors working in the CAPF and the same rule can now be applied for the officers as well. “In May 2019, recruitment rules for vets were amended retrospectively from 2006. If it can be done for them, why not for us?”

The bone of contention in the IPS vs cadre officers is the spectre of reduced deputation opportunities for IPS officers. If the NFSG is approved, cadre officials can get promotions till the IG-rank, thus, reducing the number of deputation posts for IPS officers who currently work in the paramilitary forces from the DIG-level.

The IPS association has gone back to the Supreme Court seeking a clarification on the deputation issue. “We have not created the all-India services. It was done following rules of the Constitution. Vilifying us is meaningless,” a member of the IPS association told News18. The officer said the CAPF leadership is worried that the ‘IPS vs Cadre battle’ could impact discipline in places like Kashmir, which is the biggest challenge before the CAPFs at the moment.

“As many as 1,100 deputations have been sanctioned. Of these, only 550 have been notified. Hence, this war against the IPS deputation is meaningless. What if sub-inspectors tomorrow start asking why cadre officers should be given preference in promotions, why not them, then? I am apprehensive that this targeting of the IPS by cadres is in violation of the spirit of a uniformed force. It is dangerous for an armed force to have this kind of discord towards the force leadership,” an IPS officer told News18 on conditions of anonymity.

Cadre officers have now sought the intervention of Home Minister Amit Shah. They have written to him against the IPS officers, who in most cases are supervisory officers of the complainants. “Central IPS association fought against the CAPF officers in the Supreme Court and now they are complacent to implement the directions of the government. One of the grounds that these IPS officers on deputation to CAPF are taking is that the benefits can be extended only as per existing recruitment rules which is against the spirit of OGAS. In view of the desired objective of Union Cabinet of leading to enhanced administrative capabilities of CAPF officers, I would request your good self to intervene and issue necessary directions to start the process of redrafting service rules of CAPF,” read one of the letters to Shah.

When asked for a response, the MHA and DOPT sought more time. The report will be updated with their response as soon as it is available. Meanwhile, the battle is being fought on social media. On August 20, a tweet was put out by the BJP’s official handle about the benefits for the CAPF and most comments below the tweet urged the government to implement NFFU.

A Twitter user wrote, “Delay in implementation of court verdict is clear indication of malicious interference by IPS. GOI should take action to do justice to CAPF by implementing NFFU.”

Another user said, “Unfortunately CAPFs DGs are protecting the interests of their IPS cadre rather than officers they are commanding. Non implementation of SC and GOI orders regarding NFFU are destroying the basic fabric of trust and respect between CAPFs officers and their DsG.”

The chasm between the two components of CAPF has become so wide that even routine orders like one organising an outgoing deputy general’s farewell are getting sucked into the controversy. The planned event for BSF DG RK Mishra, who demitted office on Saturday, had to be postponed after a note assigning cadre officers various roles during the farewell like bar duty and dinner duty got leaked on social media. Cadre officers sympathetic to their cause said the order is only another step by seniors (IPS) to humiliate their subordinates.

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| Edited by: Sohini Goswami
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