With the tussle between IPS and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) officers over grant of better pay to the latter threatening to precipitate into an ugly battle, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is considering a proposal that will momentarily grant relief to CAPF officers by partially acceding to their demands, it is learnt.
MHA hopes this will break the impasse over implementation of Non-Functional Financial Upgradation (NFFU) of CAPF officers and save the government from facing contempt proceedings from the Supreme Court. It was the apex court which granted the benefit to the forces and has fixed September 30 deadline for its implementation.
Sources said the MHA has been given a proposal that to grant NFFU to all eligible officers, the ministry must make a one-time relaxation of recruitment rules. This should be done in order to ensure a majority of officers, who genuinely deserve NFFU given the seniority they have attained, are not left out because of old recruitment rules which do not befit an organised Group A service. It has also been proposed that fresh service rules be framed which must come into force in a year.
Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla had on September 5 held a meeting with senior officers of the CAPF cadre from BSF, CRPF, ITBP, SSB and CISF. This was the first time that CAPF cadres were being given an audience by the home secretary. Also present in the meeting were Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary of the Police Division which looks after matters of paramilitary forces.
According to sources, the home secretary had taken a serious view of the tussle between IPS officers and cadre officers over NFFU and taken note of the way the battle had spilled on to social media. “The Union Home Secretary showed his concern regarding officers comments on social media regarding non-implementation of NFU OGAS (Organised Group A Service status). He stressed that the MHA is serious about implementation of the same,” an official said.
Bhalla, sources said, heard the CAPF officers patiently and promised that any decision would be taken only after considering all points of view. Bhalla is chairing the screening committee that will finalise the proposal for implementation of NFFU and present to the SC.
Bhalla took stock of the progress made on this front and accepted proposals that till pending amendment of Service Rules one time relaxation for implementation of NFU is necessary. The proposal also suggested that “The OGAS/NFFU should be implemented in same manner as implemented/extended to other Organized Group ‘A‘ Services.”
The proposal has argued that no benefit would accrue to officers on the basis of existing Recruitment Rules as directed by MHA. It said the proforma given by the MHA is not in conformity with the OGAS pattern. Bhalla was also apprised about the 6th Pay Commission recommendations and resolution of Government of India on such recommendations and the court directions.
The home secretary, it is learnt, has now sought presentations on proposals being pushed by CAPF cadres and their IPS seniors separately to assess the difference it would make to the former if NFFU is implemented based on existing recruitment rules as suggested by IPS. CAPF sources said on existing rules, almost 75% IG-level seniority officers and almost 100% ADG-level seniority officers would not get the benefit. Even at the DIG, a majority would be found ineligible.
Enhanced pay for officers of CAPFs in the form of NFFU has been cleared by the Cabinet after an SC order granting the same. While SC has fixed a deadline for end of September for grant of the same, the entire process is stuck in red tape.
On August 13, The Indian Express had reported how a tussle over recruitment rules between CAPF officers and their superiors from the IPS threatened to further delay delivery of the long-standing demand of the paramilitary forces.
The paper had reported that upset officers had sent multiple letters to Home Minister Amit Shah, alleging deliberate scuttling of the whole 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”.
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.
In their letters to Shah and their force chiefs, the officers have argued that after theirs was declared Organised Group A Services, new rules should be framed that are universal for all forces. Based on these, they wrote, their current promotion should be decided and arrears dispersed. At present, every CAPF has a separate recruitment rule, and thus different eligibility criteria for the promotion. Promotions are also based on the availability of vacant posts.