The government is moving in to cash in on the shortage of Indian Police Service (IPS) officers and has appointed a panel to suggest measures in this direction within three months.
Retired IPS officer Kamal Kumar will head the panel and suggest how many officers need to be appointed over 2009-2020. He is authorised to make use of HR consultants, if their services are required.
The shortage of IPS officers has served as ammunition for the incumbent home minister P Chidambaram to criticise the previous BJP-led NDA regime's track record on internal security. He has held NDA's prime ministerial candidate and former home minister LK Advani responsible for the home ministry's decision, in 1998, to restrict intake into the IPS to only 36 a year as against 85 or so in the preceding years.
The initiative for special IPS recruitment follows an internal study showing that the failure to appoint adequate number of IPS officers had led to administrative and security handicap in dealing with internal security challenges.
This move is also based on a home ministry note that gives an insight into how the recruitment of IPS officers was significantly slashed during Mr L K Advani's home ministership.
It says that in the four years from 1994 to 1997, the recruitment to the IPS was 98, 100, 96 and 84. It was also decided to fill up vacancies in future years at the rate of 85 officers per year for the next five years. The question of deciding the number to be recruited in 1998 was considered in November 1998. On 24.12.1998, The then home minister L.K. Advani approved the number of only 36.
According to the note, the reason given for slashing recruit target was; "As a result of increase in the number of promotion posts there has been a corresponding reduction in the number of direct recruitment posts and the gap in the direct recruitment quota has obliterated". Applying a formula described as 1.5 per cent of the authorised direct recruitment quota (DRQ), the number 36 was arrived at.
However, the home ministry note argues that the "reckoning of vacancies due to retirement.. etc was sketchy and, prima facie, erroneous" and that "no attempt was made to take into account the expansion of the police forces, including CPMFs and CPOs". The same number of 36 was repeated for 1999, 2000 and 2001, and thus grave and irreparable damage was done".
The note further points out that for the subsequent years, the number was fixed at 80. Subsequently, on a reference from UPSC (which apparently objected to the increase from 36 from the previous years to 80), on 21.5.2003, the then home minister approved the number of 56. "This was also an arbitrary number and does not appear to be supported by any process of reasoning", the note says.
As on January, 1, 2003, the authorised DRQ of IPS was 2477 against which there was a gap of 190 officers. 60 retirements were expected in 2003. Hence, applying the formula of 1.5 per cent of DRQ plus retirements, the required number to be recruited was 97. However, on 21.3.2003, with the approval of the Home Secretary, the number for 2003 was fixed at 88. The same number of 88 was also fixed for 2004.
The new government increased the directly recruited IPS numbers to 103 for 2005, 2006 and 2007. As on January, 1, 2007, the gap in the DRQ was 325. Noting that the increase in the batch size to 103 had not improved the situation, the number for 2008 was revised to 130 and this was to be the number for both 2009 and 2010.
The note says as on 1.1.2009, the strength of DRQ is 2,697 while only 2,383 are in position (a gap of 314) and in case of promotion, the total strength stands at 1,192 even though only 949 are in position (a gap of 243). This means against the combined strength of 3,889, only 3,332 posts are in position, resulting in a gap of 557 posts.