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Soon, a beefier, meaner, deadlier RAW
Sumir Kaul in New Delhi
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August 27, 2006 16:59 IST

With a view to revamp the Research and Analysis Wing and meet its depleting cadre strength, the government has given a green signal to Indian Police Service officers to work in the external intelligence agency.

The move comes on the basis of Permanent Secondment, under which they can return to their parent cadre in case of better promotional avenues.

The proposal was cleared at a recent high-level meeting attended by senior bureaucrats, including RAW Chief P K Hormese Tharakan, informed sources said.

Under the new proposal, IPS officers can join the RAW without affecting their seniority and return to their parent cadre whenever they have a better opportunity, which was not the case earlier.

As per the earlier rule, it was mandatory for an IPS officer to merge with the Research and Analysis Service Cadre after serving in the organisation for seven to eight years, which resulted in their seniority being affected.

The government's move comes close on the heels of a meeting in March in which concern was expressed over depleting strength of the cadre in RAW and its inability to attract talent from the open market.

The RAW chief had also carried out an in-house study, which pointed out various problems in the recruitment of fresh talent but had opposed the induction of IPS officers without their merger with the RAS cadre.

However, the report pointed out that the latest move regarding secondment would reduce the dedication level of an officer working in RAW as he or she, in case of a better option in the parent cadre, could leave the agency.

The report was discussed threadbare at the recent meeting in which some senior bureaucrats pointed out the fact that the RAS cadre, since its inception in 1980, had only one direct recruit from UPSC. This was countered by RAW officials who argued that there were few takers for RAS, which had become the last resort for any candidate.

The move for taking talent from the open market was also not found to be proper as the report reasoned that this "system, as in past, will be widely misused by those in power".

In addition, the education system in the country was not at the same level as in western nations, where there was uniformity. This helped the spy agencies in those countries to carry out recruitment drives through campus interviews.

Though the Permanent Secondment has been cleared by the government, senior RAW officials feel that the measure would only be helpful in improving the administrative mechanism, while intelligence gathering and its proper analysis were aspects which needed to be fulfilled.

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