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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sleep,pay,uniforms: why paramilitary personnel are opting out

The report cites a communication gap between the ministry,senior administration and the troops

Written by VijaitaSingh | New Delhi | Published: September 5, 2012 3:58:32 am

Zero error syndrome,salary discrepancy,manpower crunch,lack of sleep,poor quality uniforms and lack of clarity in orders are among the many reasons that a study has found responsible for personnel quitting the paramilitary forces.

The home ministry had commissioned the study to IIM Ahmedabad in January after 28,000 personnel from the CRPF and the BSF had either resigned or taken voluntary retirement during 2009-11.

“The officers feel that their organisation has disowned them as they are not provided opportunities for training,” says the study,‘Occupational Stress in Paramilitary Forces (CRPF and BSF)’,conducted by IIM-A professor Dheeraj Sharma. “Very few opportunities are afforded to a few officers to obtain training at excellent institutions. There are no established criteria as to how these officers are selected and what they should study.”

About leave,it says,“The procedure of granting leave took a long time and at times,the leave was granted after the period is over for which it was applied.” About loss of sleep,it says,“…duties need them to work over long,stretched hours. The deprivation of sleep reduces energy levels and causes discontent…” And about uniforms: “The material used is low-grade and the uniforms do not last for long period of time. This is exasperating for the workforce since they need to acquire news sets at regular intervals. Further,poor quality of uniform also affects pride…”

It says that officers have no authority to take decisions on their own even at tactical level. “Lack of even minimal authority is exasperating,” it says.

“In certain areas the troops are unclear on the exact instruction for performance of their duty. For instance on the Bangladesh border,when confronted with large scale movement of hostile crowd,the troops are not allowed to open fire on the hostile crowd even when they are under attack.”

The report cites a communication gap between the ministry,the senior administration and the troops. The report is with the ministry and a reply has been sought from both the CRPF and BSF.

For BSF personnel,the study was conducted with field visits and interactions at the Gujarat,Punjab,Jammu and Kashmir and Bengal frontiers. Among CRPF men,the interaction was carried out in New Delhi (Pakistan Embassy,Sri Lanka Embassy and Mahila Battalion),Jalandhar,Chandigarh,Srinagar and Sambal.

Other areas highlighted include salary discrepancies and poor addressing of grievances. “There is salary difference even at the same level of rank. When two persons working at the same rank,performing the same duties get different salaries,it causes dissatisfaction and lack of motivation,” it says.

“The process to address the grievances of the officers seems to be a big concern. Officers believed that there is a ‘zero error syndrome’ in the force. A single error can result in permanent derailment of the career.”

The report finds tents and dwellings of poor quality as another cause for discontent. And a major cause of concern for the workforce,according to the study,“is the number of duties they are required to perform. At times,even after getting a promotion to a higher rank,they are required to perform duties of lower rank as well.”

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