The force, like CRPF, BSF or ITBP, was formed to meet a special need: protecting our growing industrial outfits, especially critical ones of the government such as airports. Yet, the CISF also does other crucial work, including providing security to important persons in case of threat perceptions. But running a mammoth organisation where force members are under constant stress also calls for a human face
CISF is a semi-military force but it is not stationed on the border. You were in the NDRF and are currently in CISF. In this situation, what special features do you find in the CRPF?
See, all the paramilitary forces are Central Armed Police Forces. Whether it is CRPF, BSF, ITBP, they all do the same work, they all have the same character. The oldest is the CRPF, which was born in 1939.
An important event is that in 1969, a calamitous fire broke out at the Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC) of Ranchi, and due to this there was a rise in communal tension. The local police was unable to control the situation. At this time, our planners thought that there should be a special force for industrial security.
Then emerged the challenge to give these ventures security and protection in a professional manner. A committee was formed to consider this challenge and it proposed the formation of a new force. In this way CISF was entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the national property along with industrial security. CISF profiles have changed over the time.
The most important of all is the responsibilities of airport safety. For the first time we were deployed in Jaipur in 2001. Today the CISF’s responsibility is to protect the 59 airports of the country. Today, the CISF’s profile is such that it has transcended the industrial to include the critical infrastructure. As a result, today we are not only protecting public sector undertakings but also for nuclear energy units, space research centers, Delhi Metro, airports and ports.
Today, under our security surveillance, there are 332 units. Gradually, we have also started providing protection to private sector undertakings. Actually all, after the 26/11 attacks, it is believed that India has become an insecure territory. Companies such as Infosys and Reliance have approached the Indian government and demanded that they should be given a professional security force so that they can reduce their ‘Quick Response Time’ and show the whole world that they are not only safe but that their economy is also safe.
What are the private sector companies, which you are providing protection and do you charge them?
Yes, we accept charges from them. There were seven private sector companies in 2009-10 and now there are nine private sector companies, to which we are providing protection. These include Infosys, Reliance’s Jamnagar unit, Electronic City (Bangalore), Coastal Power Limited (Gujarat), Tata Steel (Kalinganagar), Patanjali and IT Park Reliance (Mumbai).
It is definitely a matter of great responsibility for us that even private sector enterprises should rely on our security as much as the public sector. Since we have a high level of competency and efficiency, we also work on security related counseling. So far, we have given 134 units this kind of service. With this kind of work, we made crores of rupees, which we passed on to the government. Indeed, the CISF is the only force in the country, which works on a cost-reimbursement basis. Whomsoever we provide service, we charge them in return, whether they are public enterprises, private organisations or airports.
Tell us something about commando training?
Commandos are needed because ‘Quick Response Time’ is very important in emergencies. The services of commando protection are usually given to those who stand a greater risk in terms of security. We do not protect them on VIP bases, but in terms of the levels of security risk risk perception. For instance, commando protection is being given to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Union State Home Minister Kiran Rijiju and others.
There are 75 people who are being given protection under different categories like X-Y and we have around 2500 soldiers doing this work. Firstly, we keep changing the order of duties of these soldiers, secondly, we give them intensive training to make them physically, mentally and strategically efficient. Just a few days back, we started a strategic branch in the National Industrial Security Agency, Hyderabad. In this we are training soldiers to work in various extreme conditions, from special physical skills to handling difficult and aggressive conditions.
One more aspect that is remarkable about CISF is that we use a lot of technology. It is important for us
also because the security of many government buildings and offices is our responsibility, for example, North Block, South Block and CGO Complex in New Delhi. To safeguard these places, we cannot depend on manpower alone, so from detectors to scanners we chalk out security management through latest technology.
What would you like to say about the mental pressure upon soldiers. What steps are you taking to ease their stress conditions?
Yes, you are absolutely right. Whether the case is of the BSF, the CISF, or that of the CRPF, all the soldiers engaged in internal security have to do a lot in terms of hard duty. At the natural level, the jawans are under professional stress, secondly there are many other psychological pressures on their minds. To combat this, each Force has developed some mechanisms, so that we can reduce or eliminate the stress of the soldiers.
One thing more about which I would like to speak in this regard is the ‘CISF Wives Welfare Association’, which we call the ‘protectors’. In it the DG’s wife is the president and wives of other officials also handle different responsibilities.
Do you have data of beneficiaries?
See, it is a dynamic process. Counselling always takes place. It does not matter that it happens once or twice a month. Apart from this I meet people myself. I have issued a new order that any young person can email me directly about his problem, or he can call. If you want to go to our website online, you can talk to us online. I meet the troubled jawans on every Monday. Last Monday, I listened to the problems of about 50 soldiers. We take such initiatives from top to bottom at every official level.
Similar initiatives are taken by the ‘protectors’ also from their side. Recently, a separate leave committee has been formed for the holidays. Now the jawans themselves will also be able to see the transparent ways, how we decide to grant holidays based on priorities basis. Apart from this we also take many initiatives at the local level.
Some soldiers say that they do not get leave when they ask for it. The permission for leave comes after two to three months, when it is no longer needed.
It is wrong to say that the jawans do not get leave when it is needed. Actually, we have 1 lakh 80 thousand soldiers. It is important to consider while granting holidays that our core duty is not affected in anyway. Then we are here only to do duty, not to take holidays. It is important to keep in mind that our duty is not affected. Suppose someone’s marriage is going to take place and someone else’s niece wants to get married, in this case then we would like to grant leave first to the one who has to attend his / her own marriage, based on priority.
Is there a food committee in the CRPF? There are frequent reports of jawans in the forces getting poor food.
Look, it has been in operation here since the very beginning and we have given this system a lot of importance. We have a lot of quality in terms of food. The biggest reason for this is that at the grassroots level, we have created a mess committee, which is conducted by the jawans themselves. There is a separate purchase committee for purchase and sale of food items. In this, the jawans bring samples from the market and buy food stuffs themselves. The MAC Committee ensures that the food is made in a good manner. We have also ordered audit. We have said that every local commander will meet the nutrition expert and he will tell them how many calories are needed for a healthy diet.
You provide security to some very important, who tend to create problems at airports...
The VIPs in themselves are not a problem. Everybody wants to live life like free people. But access control at the airport is ours. Only those who have valid IDs and tickets will be allowed to come in. Many times, people do not have valid IDs, and even their tickets forged. In such a situation, we have to make complete inquiries and many times it appears that a man is not allowed to enter.
Women’s recruitment in CISF is being done on a large scale. What are the welfare schemes for them?
It is true that the CISF has more women than other organisations. Some 5.63 per cent of our total workforce are women. The problems of women are of a different kind. So, the welfare angle for them is different. Many of our women jawans are stationed at Delhi Metro stations and airports where a large number of women travel. It is important to take care of their security separately. Some of their problems include the care of children, maternity leave, etc.
I think that ‘Protector’ plays an important role in this work.
Yes, the role of the ‘protector’ is very important in this connection. Regarding this, the ‘protector’ organises regular meetings and workshops, in which young girls and women are told how they can make themselves more professional. It also advises them about how to create a balance between home and outdoor work.
What are the new plans for the future?
CISF has a very beautiful future and that is why it is called a future force. It is very clear that we are going ahead in a big way because of the way industrialisation is taking place, manufacturing units are multiplying and foreign investments have increased. In the aviation sector alone evolution there has been increase at rate of 23 percent. Our role in these circumstances is also increasing. We will have a significant role in the progress of our country. In the next five to ten years, not only we will have to expand, but we will also have to maximize the inclusion of technology and quality in this expansion. With the goals reaching from Digital India to Make in India, we have to meet our high standards which include service at the door-step, and security smile and humility. This will be our biggest achievement in the future.
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