The meagre salary and the thankless nature of the job discourages applicants from joining the IB, says Vicky Nanjappa
An officer of the Intelligence Bureau earns Rs 5,500 a month and gets meagre annual increments.
No wonder so many posts in the IB continue to remain vacant, marking a tremendous setback to intelligence gathering and collating terror alerts to bolster India’s security set-up.
Last week, the IB finally went on a drive to recruit more people and conducted an entrance examination for the apparently crucial position of Assistant Central Intelligence Officer. Only 40 per cent of the short-listed candidates turned up for the written examination.
The IB, which needs at least a 50,000-odd work force to keep a tab on the many security threats facing the nation, needs to urgently fill up over 6,000 vacancies.
But the meagre salary and the thankless nature of the job discourage applicants.
Most of the vacancies are in the junior ranks, where officials don’t get paid much but are expected to slog it out on the field to gather information.
Due to the anonymous nature of their work, IB officials cannot publicly take credit for their heroic feats, like nabbing terror outfit Indian Mujahideen’s leader Yasin Bhatkal.
The local police walk away with the accolades while the IB operatives responsible for such high-profile arrests are forced to remain in the shadows.
While police officers can join the IB after serving a certain number of years, they often choose not to.
“Many of the field level officers in the IB are forcibly transferred from the police force. These officers are already demoralised,” revealed an IB officer.
After the Kargil War in 1999, the Centre had decided to deploy nearly 3,000 IB officials on India’s borders, but today only 1,400 such officers are in service.
After the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai exposed glaring loopholes in India’s intelligence gathering, the Centre sought to recruit 6,000 more officers but ended up deploying only 2,000 IB sleuths to assimilate intelligence.
While even a constable in a police force is provided residential flats by the state, IB officials do not get accommodation and they are paid a measly mobile reimbursement amount of Rs 1,000 per month.
A newbie IB official is always given a posting at a border area with hostile conditions and remote accessibility, along with a paltry salary and non-existent perks.
When these issues are brought to its attention, the Centre always claims that it does not have the funds required to make working conditions better for IB officials.
The bureau is not too keen on taking officials on deputation to carry out such sensitive tasks.
“The training itself takes three years and we want the trained official to stay back. In the case of a deputed officer, there is no guarantee that s/he will stay back in the IB after their deputation period gets over,” said the IB official.