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6 June 2024 : Daily Answer Writing

Q1) Backbone of country’s security paradigm, Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) are beset with challenges of their own. Discuss.

(250 Words/15 Marks)



Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) refers to the uniform nomenclature of seven central armed police organizations of India under the authority of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Their role is to defend the national interest mainly against internal threats.

CAPFs are the backbone of the country’s security paradigm, as can be seen from:

1. Border security:

a. They safeguard the security of India and Indians living in boarder areas.

E.g., SSB for India-Nepal border.

b. Prevents trans-border crimes such as smuggling, illegal migration etc.

E.g., BSF along India-Bangladesh border.

2. Emergency Response:

a. They provide capacity for specialized emergency response.

E.g., Operation Black Tornado by NSG during 26/11.

b. Disaster management during natural calamities such as floods, earthquake, Tsunamis etc.

E.g., SSB, ITBP played crucial role in relief and rescue during Uttarakhand floods (2013).

3. Anti-Naxalite operations are led by CAPF troops in Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas to augment the capacity of respective states in securing public order.

E.g., CRPF is often attached to police stations or to the district police of affected areas.

4. They provide security to VVIPS.

E.g., SPG (Special Protection Group) for security of Prime Minister of India.

5. Critical Infrastructure: CISF provides security for sensitive infrastructure such as space and nuclear energy establishments, airports etc.

CAPFs despite being seminal to country’s internal security, are beset with the following challenges:

1. The diverse and challenging terrain along Indian borders including deserts, rivers marshes, plains and mountains pose a challenge to forces in effective management of the borders.

E.g., the porous borders with Bangladesh and Myanmar.

2. Deficit of critical infrastructure affects operations.

E.g., roads in LWE-areas, fencing along India-Bangladesh border etc.

3. CAPFs lack of high-tech equipment such as night-vision sensors, mine-detectors for deep planted mines, etc. There are inordinate delays in procurement of combat-ready equipment.

E.g., MPVs (mine-protected vehicles).

4. Lack of coordination on intelligence creates inter-agency conflicts.

E.g., the army, CAPFs and state police may operate simultaneously within disturbed areas.

5. Borrowed top level cadre of officers leads to resentment and dissatisfaction in CAPFs.

E.g; IPS heads CAPFs instead of officers from CAPFs itself.

6. The challenge of long working hours, poor work-life balance, low pay, insufficient training harms effectiveness and efficiency as well as motivation and mental well-being.

E.g., fratricide incidents.

To address the above-mentioned challenges, the following measures can be adopted:

1. Leverage technological solutions to improve security at the borders.

E.g., use of drones, laser fence and sensors for round-the-clock surveillance on movements across borders.

2. Agreement on basic guiding principles and SOPs is required among forces to maintain smooth coordination between them.

3. Implementing CIBMs (Comprehensive Integrated Border Management) and improving communication linkages to avoid unnecessary confrontation.

4. Infrastructure should be enhanced to assist the operations of CAPFs, as well as to counter the alienation of the population.

E.g., rail, road, and digital infrastructure.

5. Measures for mental and psychological health, including better training and health facilities, are needed.

6. There is a need for grooming officers from entry-level so that suitable candidates for the top posts can emerge from within the forces. Pay parity with IPS can be adopted.

The CAPFs play crucial roles in securing the interests of the nation. There is a need for overhaul in resources, accountability structure and personnel management to enhance their effectiveness

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