Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Get ready to march past the job blues, literally

28 Jan 2009, 0427 hrs IST, Bharti Jain, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: Even as jobs thin out across sectors in due to global economic slowdown, the central para-military forces (CPMFs) may just be the right
career choice for those looking to join the Forces. Seemingly untouched by recession, the Central forces—BSF, CRPF, ITBP, CISF, SSB and NSG—are going in for a major expansion with the sanctioning of an additional 127 battalions, putting nearly 1.4 lakh jobs up for grabs in the immediate future.

In an exercise to strengthen the security apparatus post 26/11, the Union home ministry has put the reinforcement in numbers of various Central para-military forces on the fast track. In a recent decision, the ministry sanctioned 29 more battalions for the Border Security Force (BSF), 37 battalions for the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), 37 for the Sashastra Seema Bal or SSB (which will be raised in two phases starting first with 20 battalions); 10 each for Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP); and four battalions for the National Security Guard (NSG).

This adds up to a total 127 battalions, which are likely to be raised over the next 2-3 years. With each battalion roughly comprising 1,100 personnel, the total number of security personnel to be inducted into these CPMFs works out to nearly 1.4 lakh.

While the BSF is looking to utilise the additional battalions to raise its presence on the eastern border with Bangladesh, the CRPF hopes to add on to its specialised anti-Naxal Cobra battalions. The SSB, which is now only 41-battalion strong, is finding it difficult to effectively guard the Indo-Nepal border with the inadequate manpower. The additional 37 battalions will boost its presence on both the Indo-Nepal as well as the Indo-China border in Sikkim.

The CISF, too, is badly in need to augment its manpower in the wake of the additional responsibilities being included in its portfolio, such as guarding private and joint sector installations. The NSG, too, is in the midst of, expanding to regional hubs, starting with the four cities of Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata. The new battalions will generate the required manpower needed for these hubs.

At present, the CRPF comprises a total 201 battalions, the BSF 157 battalions, SSB 41 battalions and the ITBP 45 battalions. The additional battalions will take up the strength of the CRPF to 211 battalions, that of the BSF to 186 battalions, that of SSB to 78 battalions and of ITBP to 55 battalions.

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