Although the suggested proposal cannot be faulted on any legitimate grounds, skeptics would certainly raise subjective questions. Clarifications to some of the major anticipated reservations are as follows:
With existing abundance of central police forces, ISF would be a wasteful duplication.
The ISF will be a paramilitary force, first of its kind in the country and not duplicating existing police forces. Two points need to be borne in mind. First, as stated earlier, real strength of a fighting force lies in the development of correct ethos and mindsets. Once ingrained, it becomes well nigh impossible to modify them. A police force cannot be converted into a paramilitary force simply by extra training and equipment- normal police functioning and counter-insurgency operations require totally dissimilar attributes. Secondly, once ISF is well established and relieves CRPF of counter-insurgency operations, the strength of CRPF can be correspondingly reduced in a calibrated manner - by reducing intake and not retrenchment.
Age profile of ISF will be hit adversely by the lateral shift.
Presently the average age of recruitment in the army is 19 years while in central police forces personnel up to the age of 26 years are recruited and thereafter trained for at least one year. If the army soldiers are laterally shifted after seven years in the services, average age of fully trained inductees will be 26 years. As such, the age profile of ISF will remain totally unaffected.
Army personnel are trained to kill while in internal security duties considerable restraint has to be exercised.
Army personnel are highly disciplined. Since Independence, the army is increasingly involved in counter-insurgency operations as also rendering aid to the civil authority in the maintenance of law and order. Its record has been exemplary. Soldiers are trained to use minimum force and act in good faith. Therefore, it is totally incorrect to say that soldiers are only trained to kill. In any case, fighting armed insurgents requires use of considerable force, much beyond the capability of regular police forces. Side-stepping would curtail employment opportunities for new entrants. Presently, soldiers retire from the army after completing a maximum of 17 years of service. Another employment has to be found for them. Through lateral move to ISF, army retirees would get gainful employment up to 60 years of age. Therefore, no real loss in employment opportunities will occur. It is just that employment would be provided to ex-servicemen rather than raw personnel.
Incidentally, the CRPF issued a notification on April 5, 2010, offering contractual engagement to 1950 ex-servicemen of age less than 40 years in the post of constables for a period of 5 years (extendable to 7 years).
Image :The bodies of CRPF jawans lined up at Chintanar in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh after a Maoist attack that killed at least 76 soldiers, April 7, 2010. Picture copyright Associated press. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited