Whenever we blame certain degree of insensitivity on Police forces, we often undermine the conditions under which they are working. Of course, it doesn’t justify any wrong-handling from their side but indicates that thinking on this line also needed. Creating such a humane environment for the Police and also paramilitary forces need a manifold approach such as bringing ease in their work environment, increasing the strength of the force, ensuring that the personnel have a family time etc., Some recent trends suggest that India is putting its effort to move in this direction.
Returning to Their Core Job
The recently released report by Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) gives away one interesting point among many other sets of facts. In 2016, the number of VIPs – ministers, MPs, MLAs, judges, bureaucrats, etc stood at 20,828. In 2017, the same number was reduced to 17,468. That means more than 3,000 persons are moved out of the list of police protection. In Uttar Pradesh, the number of VIPs under police protection reduced from 1,901 in 2016 to just 110 in 2017.
On the one hand it indicates that the culture of entitlement where having police security cover had become a status symbol is being checked by the administration. On the other hand, the police personnel who are freed from this VIP security duty can be availed to the service of the public.
Evolving a New Work Culture
This can be seen as one of many indications that the current administration is trying to ease the police and paramilitary force from their many pressures. One can read our previous article Honouring the Police Force – Where India Stands to know the measures that are taken to make the compensation and moral support better for the force.
Of Course, the reforms in the British era Police system can’t happen in one fell swoop. The Modi government initiated the Modernisation of Police Forces in its first term. There has been a consistent focus henceforth. Acknowledging the problem is the first effective step in solving it. While addressing the Police Commemoration Day on October 21, Home Minister let the nation know that the government is very much aware of the problem of overwork among the Police force and it is actively working on addressing that problem. He had said this on that occasion:
“The low police-public ratio in the country was forcing 90% police personnel to work more than 12 hours a day and costing over three-fourths their weekly offs. The government is planning time-bound initiatives to address their concerns relating to healthcare, families, housing and a conducive work environment.”
A similar concern was echoed by the Home Minister with respect to the paramilitary force as well. According to a report in The Economics Times on October 18, Home Minister Amit Shah directed the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) like CRPF, BSF, and others to undertake a mega manpower planning and ensure that around 7 lakh personnel get to spend at least 100 days with their families in a year.
Even the Data on Police Organisations 2018 by Bureau of Police Research and Development notes some improvements in 2017 compared to the year 2016.
- There has been an increase of 19,686 Police personnel in the sanctioned strength of the State Police and 16,051 in the strength of CAPFs.
- There has been a 20.95% increase in the strength of Woman Police which pushed up the total number of women personnel in the State Police Forces to 1,69,550.
- During the period, about 20,149 family quarters of different types were constructed for police personnel.
Priority to Security Force
In fact, the first decision of the cabinet in the second term of the Modi government was for those who protect India.
It increased the scholarships given to widows and wards of deceased or ex-service personnel of armed and paramilitary forces from the National Defence Fund (NDF). For the first time, state police also come under the ambit of this scholarship.
In another decision, the cabinet had also approved extension of benefit of Non-Functional Financial Upgradation (NFFU) and Non-Functional Selection Grade (NFSG), benefitting about 11,000 serving officers and those who have retired since 2006 from the five primary paramilitary forces.
After all these decades someone in the power is putting thought to evolve a humane work environment for the Police force. That itself marks a very significant start.