A report on police reforms by a committee comprising senior police officers in Chhattisgarh, led by DIG Neha Champawat, has made several recommendations, including a day’s leave for on-field personnel, eight-day leave at a stretch in forward Maoist violence-affected areas, psychologists in every district headquarters, an increase in financial aid, and raising the number of women constables and sub-inspectors in the force.
During the tenure of the previous Raman Singh-led BJP government, police personnel and their families had taken to the streets and demanded improvements in emoluments given to them. The government had then used force in quelling the protests, with some even sent to jail.
The five-member committee was formed immediately after D M Awasthi, a 1985-batch officer, was made acting DGP after the Congress government assumed office. The panel submitted its report, recommending improvements, to the DGP on January 17. The DGP will vet and submit these proposals to the state government. The report said that officers on field posting should get at least “one leave per week”, and police personnel in Maoist violence-affected areas should be eligible for eight days leave at a stretch every three months. Additionally, the report said that in every range headquarters, a gynaecology specialist, a psychologist, and a physiotherapist should be made available for personnel at the government hospital two days each week. “When this is successful, this can be extended to district headquarters,” the report noted.
The report recommended raising women constables and sub-inspectors in the police force from 9 per cent to 30 per cent. “At every district headquarters there should be a women’s transit mess/hostel, and at every police station there should be a women’s toilet,” it suggested.
The committee noted that police personnel posted in forward Maoist areas, living away from their families, find it difficult to run two households on current salary, and recommended an increase in House Rent Allowance from the current 7 per cent to 15 per cent. In neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the committee pointed out, this is as high as 30 per cent.
The report also suggested a 10-per cent risk allowance for those in forward areas. It recommended an increase in food and daily allowances, as well as a school in state capital Raipur for “talented” students of police personnel, and a police housing society developed by the Police Housing Corporation at the district level.
The committee also suggested that there should be an information and technology officer at every police station in the state, and a law officer should be attached with the office of the Superintendent of Police of each district.
A senior government official said, “This report has some excellent suggestions. These will now be vetted and put up before the state government. In some cases the DGP can take decisions on his own. However, not all decisions can be taken at once, as several of these have financial implications —- some may require an increase in the force, and will have to be vetted by Finance (ministry). But this is a good, forward-looking road map; each of these points will be discussed and moved forward.”