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Fit force: 45-year age cap for CRPF personnel?

The CRPF’s desire to weed out older and possibly unfit personnel stems from the fact that a major chunk of the force is deployed in active field duty in areas like Kashmir and Maoist-affected states.

Fit force: 45-year age cap for CRPF personnel?
CRPF men on duty. (File photo| EPS/ U Rakesh Kumar)

NEW DELHI: In what could result in a major shake-up of the entire paramilitary force, the CRPF is looking to shift its “older personnel” to other central armed police forces (CAPFs) to maintain a “young profile of the fighting force”, this newspaper has learnt.

The country’s largest paramilitary force will soon make a proposal to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) “to shift personnel aged 45 and above” to other CAPFs, said sources familiar with the matter.
The idea was mooted by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in November when he conducted a review of the CRPF and asked the force to keep its profile “young and fit”.

The CRPF’s desire to weed out older and possibly unfit personnel stems from the fact that a major chunk of the force is deployed in active field duty in areas like Kashmir and Maoist-affected states. “Ninety per cent of CRPF’s strength is on active field duty at any given time. The idea is to give the personnel much needed rest and recuperation as CRPF is mandated to render some of the toughest internal security tasks like combating Maoists, tackling terrorism in J&K and insurgency in the Northeast,” said a senior official.
The official pointed out that only about 10 per cent of the force is involved in static duties, much less than other CAPFs. Static duties include VVIP protection and deployment at high security zones like Ayodhya.

‘CRPF not alone in facing medical personnel shortage’

On December 4, the CRPF had constituted a six-member committee of officers to prepare a blueprint of an age cap after which personnel can be shifted to “relatively static duties” within the organisation or be “absorbed in other relatively less hard-pressed forces like the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)”.The committee is also examining if personnel above 35 years can be deployed for peripheral services such as for duties in the medical, transport and other administrative wings that do not require much sweating on the ground.

The over 3.25 lakh force has been taking the maximum casualties, injuries and diseases as compared to all other CAPFs. The proposal, likely to face strong opposition from other CAPFs, is expected to be submitted to the MHA later this week. The other CAPFs include the Border Security Force (BSF), the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Assam Rifles.

“Every force is bearing with low medical category personnel. The problem is not unique to CRPF. They should think of a better policy than the idea of burdening other forces. Every force has unique operation requirements. No force will welcome the idea,” said sources in the CISF and the SSB.

Glaring deficit
CRPF Strength: 3.25 lakh
Low medical category: 22,120


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