The Home Ministry has written to chiefs of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to send proposals for grant of enhanced pay to officers of the paramilitary forces at the earliest or face contempt proceedings in Supreme Court.
Enhanced pay for officers of CRPF, BSF, CISF, ITBP and SSB in the form of Non-Functional Financial Upgradation (NFFU) was cleared by the Union Cabinet after the Supreme Court asked the government to extend the benefit — already available to IPS, IAS, IRS and IFS officers — to CAPF officers as well.
While the court has fixed a deadline for September-end for granting it, the process is stuck in red tape.
Issue at stake: NFFU
Last month, Union Cabinet approved the proposal to grant organised cadre status to CAPF officers, which would make them eligible for several benefits, including Non-Functional Financial Upgradation (NFFU). Non-availability of NFFU has been among the reasons for high attrition rate in the forces. NFFU makes officers eligible for higher pay in case they are denied promotion despite reaching the required seniority for lack of vacancies. All other Group A services have this facility.
“Delay in furnishing requisite proposals may be construed as contemptuous with reference to the directions of the Honourable Court and for which, liability of contempt will lie with the force administration,” the Home Ministry’s letter, dated August 14 and signed by Additional Secretary (Police) P K Srivastava, stated.
On August 13, The Indian Express had reported that a tussle over recruitment rules between CAPF officers and their superiors from the IPS threatened to further delay delivery of the longstanding demand of the paramilitary forces.
The report mentioned that upset officers had sent multiple letters to Home Minister Amit Shah, alleging deliberate scuttling of the provision by their superiors. These letters called the behaviour of their superiors “snotty”, and their mindset “narrow and negative”.
The CAPF brass from the IPS called the move by the officers “unfortunate”, and an attempt to indulge in “trade unionism”.
The ministry appears to have taken cognizance of this tussle and asked the CAPF chiefs to do the needful at the earliest in order to meet the SC deadline. Once the proposals are sent to the ministry, they would be presented before the screening committee headed by the Home Secretary, and finally sent for approval to the Department of Personnel and Training.
An office memorandum sent to all the forces by the Police II division of MHA has also flagged the issue of delay in receipt of proposals. “The Honourable Supreme Court has while disposing of the Contempt Petition on 31-07-2019 on the subject matter directed that the financial benefits due to officers may be paid within two months and compliance be reported. In order to comply with the directions of the honourable court, the DsG (Directors General) of the CAPFs are once again directed to forward the requisite proposals for grant of NFFU and NFSG (Non Functional Selection Grade) to Group A Executive Cadre Officers of CAPFs for placing them before screening committee, without any further delay,” the letter stated.
Srivastava’s letter noted that proposals had either not been sent entirely or the requirement partially fulfilled. “As on date, requisite proposals for grant of NFFU to the eligible officers are yet to be received from CAPFs. Further proposals for grant of NFSG to eligible officers have so far been received only from ITBP and part proposals from CRPF …for the years 2001 and 2002,” he wrote.