Central forces without regular heads-Internal Security
Many Central forces are functioning without regular chiefs, which could impact their efficiency
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), with a strength of 3.5 lakh, is headless following the previous incumbent Dr. A.P. Maheshwari’s superannuation on February 28, 2021.
The Special Director General, Kuldiep Singh, is holding charge until a regular officer is appointed.
Saddled with additional duties
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been without a head since February 3 when R.K. Shukla retired on completion of his two-year term.
Until a Director is selected after due procedure and clearance by a committee headed by the Prime Minister, the Additional Director, Praveen Sinha, will hold the fort.
Common Cause, an NGO, has since filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court seeking the appointment of a regular CBI Director through the high-powered selection committee of the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of the Opposition.
Consequent to his taking over as Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF) in August last year, Rakesh Asthana should have been relieved of his charge of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) that he had been heading prior to his appointment to the BSF.
But for reasons best known to the powers that be, the Gujarat cadre officer continues to hold additional charge of the NCB.
The BSF is the second largest force in the country after the CRPF.
It is unfair to saddle him with additional charge of another organisation when the force he is heading is constantly at loggerheads with the Pakistan Army and militants along the borders and is even combating militants in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.
The elite National Security Guard too is without a regular Director General for nearly six months.
After the retirement of the previous incumbent, the Director General of the Indo Tibetan Border Police, Surjeet Singh Deswal, took over the reins of this specialised outfit.
This force comprising personnel from the Army and the Central Armed Police Forces comes into action in times of crisis such as during the Mumbai attacks of 2008.
It is also entrusted with the responsibility of providing security to certain high-risk personalities.
The lone research and training organisation for the police forces of the country, the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), too, is functioning without a regular Director General.
The former incumbent, V.S.K. Kaumudi, has been the Special Secretary (Internal Security) in the Ministry of Home Affairs since August last year. He continues to hold the additional charge of the BPR&D.
The fact that so many Central forces are without regular heads speaks of the kind of importance attached to these organisations.
Though they play a pivotal role in maintaining internal security, there doesn’t seem to be much seriousness in posting the right kind of officers with not only the required skill and experience but also the time.
This has an adverse impact on the efficiency of these forces.
Officers holding provisional charge shy away from taking major policy decisions and prefer to leave such matters to the next person in charge.
What can be done?
The government of the day could consider announcing the next chief of these organisations at least three months in advance with a minimum tenure of two years or till superannuation, whichever is later.
Preferably, those considered for these posts should be from among the officers who have served in these organisations earlier.
A panel of officers cleared by the Union Public Service Commission could be always kept ready and the officers for the top posts could be chosen from this panel.
This will go a long way in speeding up decisions and enhancing the efficiency of these forces.