The government has made daily yoga compulsory for the 10 lakh-strong central armed police forces (CAPF). Personnel posted in areas hit by left wing extremism as well as those deployed along the border with Pakistan will now have to practice yoga as part of their “daily physical exercise”.
The Centre has also sought a compliance report from each force.
The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a circular on May 26 in this regard to the Director Generals of all seven paramilitary forces — CRPF, CISF, BSF, ITBP, SSB, NSG and Assam Rifles.
“DGs are requested to issue appropriate instructions to all field formations to include yoga as a part of daily physical exercise on priority and submit the action taken report to this ministry,” the circular issued by the MHA said.
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CRPF Director General Prakash Mishra called “it a good move on the part of the government to make yoga a part of the daily activity of jawans”.
“We already have yoga in our training programme for fresh recruits. Now, it will be across field formations,” Mishra said.
But the chief of one of the paramilitary forces, who did not wish to be named, pointed out that the move was not “practical”.
“Yoga can calm the mind but our focus is more on physical fitness. For our jawans to be alert, they need to follow strict cardio exercises, which yoga cannot fulfil. We will take up the matter with the MHA and request them to make yoga a choice, and not compulsory,” the officer said.
The MHA directive applies to all battalions and field units, and commanding officers are responsible for sending the compliance reports to the ministry.
“Yoga is an invaluable gift to India’s ancient tradition and it is the responsibility of everyone to preserve it by adopting it as a part of daily activity. Accordingly, it would be appropriate to include yoga as part of the daily routine of force personnel. This will also help the force personnel beat their stress, if any, and keep them physically as well as mentally better-off,” the circular stated.
According to data from 2008-14, 228 jawans of the CRPF — the country’s largest paramilitary force — committed suicide due to stress.
On the eve of International Day of Yoga on June 21, the Army, Navy and Air Force had posted photographs on social networking websites of personnel practising yoga.
The Human Resource Development Ministry last week released course material and syllabus for yoga, designed by the NCERT for classes VI-X. It also introduced yoga as a training module in teacher education programmes.