Highlighting the low representation of women in the Central Armed Police Forces, a parliamentary committee has asked the Union home ministry to take steps to encourage them to join the services, besides recommending a reservation for transgenders.
In its latest report, the panel said a policy may be explored for women officers to be given soft postings and not subject them to extremely strenuous working conditions.
The Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, headed by Bharatiya Janata Party MP Sushil Kumar Modi, said the representation of women personnel in the CAPFs and Assam Rifles is 3.76 per cent as on September 30, 2022.
'The Committee advocates that all necessary steps should be taken by MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) to encourage women to join forces to the maximum possible extent. A major constraint that prevents women from joining forces is the difficult terrains and conditions in which they might have to work,' it said in its 131st report on the 'Review of Functioning of Recruitment Organisations of Government of India'.
So, a policy for women officers to be given soft postings and not subjecting them to extremely strenuous and difficult working conditions may be explored, unless required in extreme circumstances like war or armed rebellion, and that too when there is an absolute shortage of males who can be deployed by the forces, the report added.
'The Committee also recommends that some sort of reservation may also be given to transgenders. Steps may be taken to recruit transgenders as well so that they can be integrated well with mainstream society in near future,' it said.
On the 'imperative issue' of the minimal percentage of women in central forces, the panel said, 'As on today, only 3.65 per cent of vacancies for women have been filled till now.'
In the BSF (Border Security Force) and the SSB (Sashastra Seema Bal), the representation of women is only 14 per cent to 15 per cent, in the CISF (Central Industrial Security Force), it is 6.35 per cent and in the ITBP (Indo Tibetan Border Police), it is 2.83 per cent, it said.
'So there are certain constraints which are preventing women from joining the forces,' the panel said in its report tabled in Parliament on Thursday.
It noted that there is no specific reservation for women in the CAPFs.
'However, in order to enhance the representation of women in CAPFs, in 2011, based on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Empowerment of Women, directions were issued to bring the percentage of women in the forces to 5 per cent within 3 years,' the report said.
There were 34,278 women personnel posted in the CAPFs and AR as on September 30, 2022. Of these, 1,894 were in Assam Rifles, 7,470 in BSF, 9,316 in CISF, 9,427 in Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), 2,514 in ITBP and 3,657 in SSB.
The panel also said that it is paramount to recruit the maximum number of youngsters from border districts and recommended a special drive for local youngsters of 'Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, North Eastern states and Kashmir'.
'It should be ensured that the 25 per cent of reservation for areas affected by militancy/LWE (left wing extremism) and 25 per cent vacancies of border guarding forces allotted to border districts is fulfilled immediately so that the energy and talent of youth of these areas are channelized and they do not deviate toward extremism and terrorism,' it said.
The panel also emphasised the filling up of all vacancies on mission mode in central armed police forces and Assam Rifles.
There were 83,127 vacancies in the CAPFs and AR as on January 1, 2023.
Of these, 1,666 vacancies existed in AR, 19,987 in BSF, 19,475 in CISF, 29,283 in CRPF, 4,443 in ITBP and 8,273 in SSB, the report said.
'The Committee recommends that there has to be a robust mechanism to monitor how many people are retiring from forces, how many vacancies created and whether people have been appointed to the vacant posts, i.e. vacancies created should be filled regularly and backlogs to be avoided," it said.
All departments should be strictly directed at all places that they send details of vacancies well in time to the Home Ministry and "not take years and years to send the details of vacancies,' the report added.