Shortfall of IPS officers worrying, says Chidambaram


New Delhi : Home Minister P. Chidambaram Friday said urgent and imaginative steps were needed to bridge the shortfall in Indian Police Service (IPS) officers in various police organisations.

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“I wish to share with you a matter that has caused me grave concern,” Chidambaram said, presenting a report card of the measures taken in the ministry since taking over Dec 1 in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

“As on Jan 1, there were 3,332 officers in the IPS cadre against a sanctioned strength of 3,889.”

“The gap is 557, out of which 314 fall under the direct recruitment quota. In the Intelligence Bureau, the vacancies at the level of superintendent of police and above to be filled by IPS officers is 88, and in the CBI it is 27. How did this situation come about?” he asked.

“It is a story of neglect between 1998 to 2004, but I shall share the story with you on another occasion. In my considered judgment, the situation cannot be repaired unless urgent and imaginative steps are taken.”

The period Chidamabaram referred to is when the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ruled India.

As a first step to address the shortfall, Chidambaram announced the appointment as a consultant of Kamal Kumar, a former director of the National Police Academy.

His mandate will be to draw up a recruitment plan for 2009 to 2020. He has been requested to submit his report by May 31.

Kumar will be expected to make an assessment of the growing needs of all the police forces – state police, central police organisations and paramilitary forces – after taking into account the expansion plans that are underway.

When he took over, Chidambaram set for himself a blistering pace of 150 days to put in place critical strategies and strengthen intelligence systems to thwart further terrorist attacks.

His most pressing task then was to ensure that proper equipment, weaponry and communication systems were procured for police and paramilitary forces to meet the challenges of new age terror.

On Friday he approved another 100-day action plan.

“I have got the ministry to prepare an action plan even though it is only for the short-term. I am confident that the plan will be substantially achieved and the next government can build on what has been accomplished.”