Daily Answer Writing
10 March 2021

Q) Discuss the structures and roles of various paramilitary forces of India. Are these organizational structures suited to the varied functions granted to these forces. Critically evaluate. (250 Words)

Source: The Hindu OPED: In need of full-time heads

GS 3: Internal Security: Various Security forces & agencies and their mandate.

Approach Answer: 


Introduction: There are 10 Lakh Jawans in seven different paramilitary forces that come under the control of Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) in India. They have a variety of functions from security of important installations to security of VIPs to maintenance of law and order to providing border security. Of these seven, three - BSF, ITBP and SSB are for border security and rest for variety functions.


Roles of Different Paramilitary forces:

               i. NSG(National Security Guard):  also known as The Black Cats  is an elite counter-terrorism unit under MHA. They are modelled on the lines of SAS(UK), GSG(Germany), was set up in 1984 as federal contingency force to be used in exceptional situations.

               ii. Assam Rifles: It is India's oldest paramilitary force of India. It provides of internal security through the conduct of counter insurgency and border security operations. It provides aid to the civilians in times of emergency, provides means of communications, medical assistance and education in remote areas.

               iii. Central Reserve Police Force(CRPF): It enables the government to maintain Rule of Law, Public Order and Internal Security effectively and efficiently. It is deployed for counter-insurgency duties, providing security during India's general elections and Riot Control. CRPF contingents are also deployed in UN missions

               iv. Central Industrial Security Force(CISF): It is mandated to guard sensitive governmental buildings, the Delhi Metro, and providing airport security. It also provides security cover to 300 industrial units, Industrial sectors like atomic power plants, space installations, mines, oil fields and refineries, major ports, heavy engineering, steel plants, barrages, fertiliser units, airports and hydroelectric/thermal power plants owned and controlled by Central PSUs, and currency note presses producing Indian currency.

               v. Border security Force(BSF): It has a dual role:

                              a. During peacetime It acts as a border Guard for prevention of trans-border crimes, unauthorized entry into or exit from the territory of India, prevention of smuggling and any other illegal activities on the Border, Collection trans-border intelligence and to promote a sense of security among the people living in the border areas.

                              b. During war time: It holds ground in assigned sectors. It maintains of Law and Order in enemy territory administered under the Army's control, acts as guides to the Army in border areas, assistance in control of refugees, provision of escorts, and Performing special tasks connected with intelligence including cross-border raids.

               vi. ITBP(Indo-Tibetan Border Police): It keeps a vigil on the northern borders, detection and prevention of border violations, and promotion of the sense of security among the local populace, Checking illegal immigration and trans-border smuggling.

               vii. Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) is a border patrol organization of India deployed along its border with Nepal & Bhutan.



               i. Control: All paramilitary forces come under the operational control of MHA. However, Assam Rifles  comes under the control of the Army(thus M/o Defence also have control over it)

               ii. Officers appointment: The officers are appointed by MHA on the recommendations from UPSC. The entry level exams are taken by the forces themselves.

               iii. Headed by: These are headed by DGP rank Indian Police Services(IPS) officers.


Due to variety of functions, the different types of organizational structure of the different forces is suited to them. However there are still some challenges.


Organizational Challenges to Paramilitary forces:

               i. No vertical promotional structure: The officers are appointed at the level of assitant commandant, however, they never reach to the helm. It is headed by an externally appointed IPS officer.

               ii. Dual control: Organizations like Assam Rifles, BSF, SSB, ITBP have dual control from both MHA and M/o Defense.

               iii. Dual structure: BSF and Assam rifles follow a rank structure similar to Army as well as of a police force.

               iv. Vacancies at the highest levels: often appointment by the central gets delayed, and the organizations functions without a head.

               v. Multiple organizations with single role: BSF, SSB and ITBP all have the same role of border security. Thus it is highly fragmented organization.

               vi. Salary and Retirement benefits: They do jobs as difficult as the armed forces round the year but get less benefits.


Conclusion: Being  such a large country, India has a variety of security threats. Thus India requires a wide range of organizations to deals with those threats comprehensively. Nevertheless, it is often demanded that the CAPFs are given greater perks and retirement benefits to boost the morale of the forces. Further, it is also suggested that the government of the day could consider announcing the next chief of these organisations at least three months in advance with a minimum tenure of two years. 


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