Govt gives CAPF men status on par with ex-servicemen

The Ministry of Home Affairs Friday issued a notification to provide the status of "ex-central police personnel" to more than 15 lakh Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel on par with the "ex-servicemen" status of the armed forces as announced by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde a month ago. However, the ministry has put the onus on the respective state governments, leaving it to them to offer the post-retirement benefits to the CAPF personnel.

The notification does not specify the benefits to the CAPF personnel and does not say whether they will be carved out from the ones being given to the armed forces, which is likely to evoke a strong protest from the latter.

A month ago, Shinde had announced that the Cabinet has agreed to give the status of ex-central police personnel to the CAPF personnel comprising CRPF, BSF, ITBP, SSB, NSG and CISF but had not specified the terms and conditions for the same.

The MHA notification said, "Based on such designation (ex-central police personnel), the state/UT government concerned may extend suitable benefits to them on the lines of the benefits extended by the state/UT government to the ex-servicemen of defence forces."

The notification will be a huge relief to the paramilitary personnel who are deployed across the country to maintain internal security, including anti-Naxal operations and for maintaining security on the country's eastern and western border with Bangladesh and Pakistan respectively.

The benefits that the ex-servicemen of armed forces avail from this status include re-employment opportunities in government sector, cheaper loans, better medical facilities, the Prime Minister's scholarship scheme for higher education of their children and also self- employment through soft loans from nationalised banks.

Retired CAPF personnel have often argued that like the armed forces they also lay down their lives for the country and maintain the internal security of the country.

"The MHA has not specified the benefits, they have put the onus on states. So far we don't get any kind of recognition from state or central governments. We are not civilians, we have similar duty as armed forces. Since this notification does not say much we will have to contact states to ask them about the benefits they will be extending to us. This seems to be too little too late. We have been fighting for this status for the past 12 years," said P S Nair, general secretary, All India Central Paramilitary Forces Ex-servicemen Welfare Association, a body that represents over 10 lakh retired CAPF personnel.

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