Published: July 19, 2020 9:26:45 pm
Written by Amit Bedwal
Recently, there has been a surge in social media posts with the hashtag “GoBackIPS” . It appears that fake accounts are being created regularly — they put out posts to discredit the contributions of IPS officers in the service of the nation. Some have gone so far as to label the IPS as “Indian Parasite Service”; senior officers are being personally targeted. While most of these campaigns are being run by fake accounts, many posts are shared by the personal accounts of serving officers of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), which is against the conduct rules.
While every government servant has the right to express grievances about career issues, nobody holds the privilege of going to the level of indiscipline making it an IPS vs CAPF issue. As per the propaganda of these officers, the IPS is privileged because its officers go on deputation to the CAPFs and this something of a honeymoon period. Is this true? No, it was never a matter of privilege — it’s a matter of right and need.
To start with, the requirement of IPS in leadership roles is because India is a federal country with a bias in favour of the Union. There is a need for services that act as a link between the Centre and states in certain matters. Besides, every service has multiple entry points. The entry points which are at a higher level not only demand a strict selection process but also help the officers entering at these points to perform their duties without bowing to pressure. These requirements are fulfilled by the All-India Services.
States require leadership for public order and the Centre also requires leadership in matters of internal security. The IPS was never meant to serve just the states. It is recruited by the Centre and serves both but is always much closer to the Centre. For the Centre, internal security remains a major task and in that, the CAPFs undoubtedly play a key role. For the IPS to have a role in internal security, they must have a presence in the CAPFs.
Second, one has to understand the issue from a functional point of view. Policing is a very broad subject covering crime prevention, investigation, intelligence, public order, counter-terrorism and internal security. All these functions are connected. In such a situation, it is important that the leadership in any one of these areas is not aloof from the other aspects of policing. And it’s here that the IPS has a role to play. The service, because of its broad exposure to almost all areas of policing, finds itself in a better position to understand the dynamics of other areas when working in a leadership position. To say that the IPS has nothing to do with the CAPFs, which play a key role in in the maintenance of internal security, is a narrow thought.
Third, while talking about the concept of the Organised Group ‘A’ Service (OGAS) and NFFU status for CAPFs, it is wrong to say that the service belongs only to regular cadre officers. Officers of two different cadres may man a service jointly and in such a service, composite service rules govern the service. Besides, even the OGAS may have minor deviations as per functional requirements. Now, regular cadre officers and IPS cadre officers with different levels of entry have always manned the CAPFs jointly. It’s good that the long pending demand of CAPF officers for NFFU has been accepted, which will boost their morale. But on that basis, questioning the presence of IPS cadre is illogical. IPS cadres have always been an integral part of the services, not outsiders. Even when the issue was taken to the Supreme Court, it was made clear by the Court that by granting OGAS to the RPF, the rights of the IPS, if any, for their appointment on deputation are not affected.
Fourth, the voices against the IPS are backed by the claims that the presence of IPS officers in the CAPFs is impacting the promotion of CAPF officers. The entry point for IPS is at a higher level. The same level is provided at the Assistant Commandant level for management of the CAPFs. Entry channels are made open at various levels. This is to ensure that at various levels, fresh minds may be brought to ensure the flow of new ideas and the experience of those who joined at lower levels is utilised by promoting them. Just because someone was not able to enter the service at a higher level does not become a reason to question the entry at a higher level. Blaming the IPS for career stagnation is a self-centred and ill-informed approach.
Last but not least, many are questioning the capabilities of the IPS’s leadership. It is also said that IPS officers take credit for work done in the field by CAPF personnel. It can then equally be said that the reverse is true, that CAPFs are taking credit for IPS work. Operations are executed by the troops on the ground, assisted and supervised by field officers and given planning and administrative support by senior officers. In such an arrangement, disregarding the role played by any level of officer is not correct.
This is not the time for mud-slinging. It is in the country’s interest that the issue is not made IPS vs. CAPF. The CAPFs have given brilliant officers who have worked with the IPS in harmony. If someone has genuine concerns and ideas for the improvement of the services, various channels are always open to them to come forward and discuss the same. But defamatory actions by some are hurting the forces, and by extension, the country.
The writer is an IPS officer. Views are personal
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