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Suggestions from an experienced MHA official on how to improve the security infrastructure of India

Suggestions from an experienced MHA official on how to improve the security infrastructure of India
Suggestions from an experienced MHA official on how to improve the security infrastructure of India

Dr. Sudhir Chandra’s words of wisdom would have been a great eye-opener in dealing with matters of Security.

Dr. Sudhir Chandra was an excellent Officer. He was the Secretary Ministry of Urban Development in the Government of India when I served my tenure in the ministry. My domain area was Land/Lease management and since most of the projects of the ministry necessarily had an issue relating to Land or Lease management I had attended many meetings chaired by him. He put some ideas into my mind that are indelible. One of them is the concept of a gated community in violation of Town Planning norms. By conceptualizing the gated residential colonies we are telling the citizens at large that the state is incapable of protecting its citizens.

Unfortunately, my tenure under him came after my innings in the Ministry of Home Affairs. Otherwise, his words of wisdom would have been a great eye-opener in dealing with matters of Security. By citizen’s security, we could have not only secured them but using the concept of Dr. Chandra we would have also communicated to them by our words and deeds that in the state the citizens are secure. The irony doesn’t end there. My Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs also landed in the Ministry of Urban Development as Additional Secretary on promotion.

Most of the retired DGPs and Commissioners shout in different media debates on similar lines of course barring the exception of Shri Prakash Singh and Vikram Singh whose interventions are more professional.

But this was not to be. Neither of us could have had the benefit of the vision of Dr. Chandra during our tenure in the Ministry of Home Affairs. More importantly in the aftermath of Nov 26, 2008, several steps were advised to be taken as security measures including calling upon establishment both public and private to install scanners CCTVs and other high tech surveillance gadgets, fencing of complexes, etc. In this context may I also state that when the Parliament Attack took place on Dec 13, 2001, I was in Parliament doing a tenure in the Lok Sabha Secretariat. At that time also I was inside the Parliament stuck in Room No 143 of Sansad Bhavan for many hours till we were evacuated. The point I am trying to say is the from personal experience the entry to Parliament of India has never been the same again. This is an irony. The Parliament belongs to the people of India and the repeated security reiterations required to go to this asset of the people would put the people of India to repel at the idea of visiting Parliament.

Police-population ratio

In the aftermath of the Delhi bomb blasts in Sep 2008 also an exercise to create 7000 posts at different levels was initiated. Similarly after Nov 26, 2008, also one of the questions that came into the center stage of discussion was that police population ratio which was not comparable to other countries. Even recently when the Shaheen Bagh and Jafrabad events were occurring or such anti CAA protests were happening in other parts of the country the bogey of police population ratio almost always comes into a debate. Most of the retired DGPs and Commissioners shout in different media debates on similar lines of course barring the exception of Shri Prakash Singh and Vikram Singh whose interventions are more professional. Shri Prakash Singh actually had pioneered a lot on operational and staff issues of police forces in India including insulating from political pressures in the famous Supreme Court Ruling of Sep 21, 2006.

Why do people join the Civil services?

Let me share an important real-time dimension in respect of motivation to join the civil service generally or police forces specifically. Service orientation as a motto is never inculcated through training or practice at any level. All the orientation is about power. In general bureaucracy in General Financial Power Rules, Delegation of Financial Power Rules, Rules of the delegation of powers, Manual of Office Procedure which is the bible for the babus which inter alia prescribes channel of submission (not an examination of the proposal) and level of final disposal, appointing authorities, competent authorities, etc. This all smacks of authority entitlement the terminology itself as most may agree.

Misuse of the lower ranks

Notwithstanding they are also trained in conduct rules to cover their backs and also something called Classification, Control, and Appeal Rules, or AIS (Discipline and Appeal) rules which enables them to go on litigating to justify their misconduct or lack of delivery. The irony is that the Gangotri of this as the preamble of these itself states in “In exercise of powers vested under Articles 309, 311 (312 for All India Services).” Hence permanence of tenure (as stated by famous Constitutional Law expert MP Jain) which is are major hygiene factors for joining. You wield power and your job is safe.

The Government of India Ministry of Home Affairs, in fact, has passed legislation to regulate the Private Security Agencies Act and notified rules thereunder, while the Town Planning norms exist.

Please your boss and your job is safe

At the same time, all this safety/ power wielding is of course restrained by a Conduct Rule 3 that is listening and obeying to your immediate superior. As long as your immediate superior is happy you can create havoc. Hence you will find in a so-called Basrurkar Market in Moti Bagh of New Delhi, many constables are posted to do domestic work with police officers or peons doing domestic errands like buying veterinary medicines/ nutrition supplements for their bosses’ pets because that is the nearest pet medicine shop located to New Moti Bagh area which is the latest residential colony for senior bureaucrats recently constructed in 2010-12.

All are equal but some feel more equal

Hence the per capita police, police population ration, the civil servants to citizens ratio are indeed are not the only reasons for repeated failure to meet the challenges to law and order posed from time to time which is occurring more frequently. Besides, the culture of rent-seeking, there is also a culture of patronage using police position. From my own personal experience as a person associated with the management of a very popular temple in New Delhi, I can say so. During the Vinayak Chaturthi celebrations, I receive so many requests for facilitating darshan of police officers. In this context, the Chief Justice of Delhi Court, few Judges of the Supreme Court or High Court, lot many Secretaries to the Government of India never have been seen throwing their entitlement. But some of the officers of the police send a retinue of police constables to overawe the temple personnel to get the crowd cleared and have darshan. The irony is this officer Charu Sharma is not DIG in National Human Rights Commission and what human rights she will protect is for readers to judge.

Using this shortage of personnel as a ruse they ask the establishment to appoint security guards to install various gadgets at their costs and the challenges go on unabated. In a recent function in the same temple, a police constable comes over to us and directs that if the function is expected to get crowd beyond a certain number we should engage additional security guards. This has been conveyed to the concerned Station House Officer with a request for a written response but to no avail. The Government of India Ministry of Home Affairs, in fact, has passed legislation to regulate the Private Security Agencies Act and notified rules thereunder, while the Town Planning norms exist. How much of repugnancy between the two is there we don’t know?

The way forward

Now in so far as the drafting of the billing process is concerned the policy elements are given by the proposing Ministry, the Department of Legal Affairs examines whether there is already any existing legislation and Legislative Department drafts the bill. In the entire exercise pre and post passage by Parliament, all checklists including Article 117(3) Compliance is adhered to by the department but no actionable step proposing repugnancy removal is provided for. Incidentally, before the bill is presented in Parliament the same is approved by the Cabinet. The Cabinet Secretariat has the position of Secretary (Coordination) at which level this repugnancy iteration should be ideally done. But in real-time working Secretary (Coordination) is generally functioning as an office through which papers to be placed before the Cabinet Secretary are preapproved. I hope someone’s system gives serious thought to this.

Hence shortfall in capacity is a ruse, which can be overcome through optimization of capacity, appropriate deployment, rationalization of the domain, and few other internal steps on the intragovernmental level.

Note:
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

RV Subramani (RVS Mani)
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