The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the proposal to grant organised cadre status to Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) officers which will make them eligible for several benefits, including Non-Functional Financial Upgradation (NFFU). The move comes after a Supreme Court order asked the government to extend the benefit —already available to IPS, IAS, IRS and IFS officers — to CAPF officers.
Notably, this longstanding demand of paramilitary forces has been opposed by the government in all courts until the Supreme Court ruling. In the apex court, the government was opposed to granting this benefit to the forces, even though non-availability of NFFU has been among the reasons for high attrition rate in these forces.
“The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for Grant of Organized Group ‘A’ Service (OGAS) to Group ‘A’ Executive Cadre Officers of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and extension of benefit of Non-Functional Financial Upgradation (NFFU) and Non-Functional Selection Grade (NFSG),” a PIB statement said.
It added that the government order would benefit CAPFs as “this would result in grant of NFFU to eligible Group ‘A’ Executive Cadre Officers of CAPF; and …would also benefit Group ‘A’ Executive Cadre Officers of CAPF for availing the benefit of NFSG at an enhanced rate of 30% as per guidelines”.
NFFU basically makes an officer eligible for higher salary in case he is not promoted due to lack of vacancies despite being eligible for promotion.
What the decision means
The move will benefit thousands of serving officers and many others who have retired since 2006 from the five primary CAPFs or paramilitary forces — CRPF, BSF, CISF, ITBP and SSB. The officers will now get better deputation chances as they will be eligible to get empanelled under the central staffing scheme, get enhanced facilities of transportation, house rent allowance, travelling and dearness allowance. Besides the pay hike, the demand for NFFU also encapsulates a long-standing tussle between CAPF cadre officers and IPS officers who come on deputation to the forces. Most top positions in these forces are occupied by IPS officers.
In February this year, the Supreme Court upheld the Delhi High Court judgment granting the status of organised group ‘A’ services and NFFU to CAPF officers. The High Court judgment, delivered on September 3, 2015, said benefits contemplated by VIth Central Pay Commission by way of NFFU to remove disparity between all India services and other organised group ‘A’ services must be granted to the CAPF officers.
In both the High Court and the Supreme Court, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and IPS Association opposed the demand of CAPF officers. The home ministry argued that this would lead to command chaos in the forces and impact deputation of IPS officers. The MHA maintained that this would happen because a second in command earning the same salary as the commandant would not listen to him.
This stand was criticised by the High Court when it said that NFFU was by its definition “non-functional”.
“The Government’s contention that NFFU cannot be granted since the CAPFs comprise a strict hierarchy with a well defined Command and Control structure; that any interference with this structure would be detrimental to the interest of the forces and would adversely affect its operation and functioning; It was thus, claimed that all posts in the CAPFs are functional and there is no room for Non Functional posts, is untenable because by very definition there is no interference with functions, duties or the posts but only an increase in the financial prospects,” the High Court order granting relief to CAPF officers had said.