The Indian Police Service (IPS) is 557 officers short of its sanctioned strength,the government has revealed. Fifty-six per cent of these vacancies 314 officers are in the direct recruitment quota,show figures updated till January 1,2009.
How did this situation come about? It is a story of neglect between 1998 and 2004,but I shall share the story with you on another occasion, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said,making the revelation two days ago.
Chidambaram also announced the appointment of retired IPS officer Kamal Kumar,a former director of the National Police Academy,to draw up,by May 31,a recruitment plan based on an assessment of Indias policing needs between 2009 and 2020.
Though the home minister gave no details,it now emerges that the NDA government approved the recruitment of only 36 IPS officers per year for four years starting 1998,going against an earlier projection of 85 appointments every year. This alone created a shortfall of 196 officers over four years.
Home ministry officials said the reason given for changing the earlier decision was that an increase in the number of promotion posts had resulted in a reduction in the number of direct recruitment posts ¿ and that the gap in the direct recruitment quota had disappeared.
According to these officials,98,100,96 and 84 IPS officers were recruited in the four years between 1994 and 1997. It was decided then that 85 vacancies would be filled every year for the next five years.
However,the government of day arrived at 36 as the number of annual recruitments by a formula described as 1.5 per cent of authorised direct recruitment quota.
The UPA government now believes that the calculation of vacancies created by reasons like retirement was sketchy and,prima facie,erroneous. Also,no attempt was made to factor in expansion of police forces including the central paramilitary forces and central police organisations.
In 2002,the number of annual IPS recruitments was revised to 80. However,an objection by the UPSC ensured that only 56 new posts were approved.
In January 2003,the IPS was 190 officers short of the sanctioned strength of 2,477 in the direct recruitment quota. Sixty officers were estimated to retire in 2003. Sources said that applying the 1.5 per cent formula,the number to be recruited was 97. Still,for some reason,the number for 2003 and 2004 was fixed at 88,said sources.
By 2005,the recruitment gap in the IPS had risen to 619,357 of which were direct recruitment posts. It was at this point that it was belatedly realised that only 36 officers had been recruited following a court order between 1998 and 2001. Another factor identified for the shortfall,home ministry officials said,was the increase in cadre strength following cadre reviews during 2002-04,when 268 posts were added.
Following this,the number was revised to 103 for 2006 and 2007 by the then Home Minister Shivraj Patil. However,the deficit in the direct recruitment quota still stood at 325 officers,so the number was upped further to 130 for 2008,2009 and 2010.
As of January 1,2009,India has 3,332 IPS officers against a sanctioned strength of 3,889 through both direct recruitment and promotion. Vacancies at the SP level and above in the Intelligence Bureau,which are to be filled by IPS officers,have risen to 88. Twenty-seven such posts are vacant in CBI. Vacancies in IB,given the thrust on improving the overall intelligence network following the Mumbai terror attacks,are now under sharp scrutiny.
Significantly,most vacancies in IB and CBI are at the levels of SP and SSP,regarded as the cutting edge of Indian police. The IB has 58 vacancies at SP and SSP levels out of a sanctioned strength of 82; in the CBI,13 out of a sanctioned 49 posts are vacant at the same levels.
The appointment of Kamal Kumar to assess the requirement of officers over the next 10 years is a direct
result of the alarm bells that have now begun to ring in North Block.
Direct IPS recruitments