Despite the onerous nature of their duties, the police are a neglected lot

21 October is observed as Police Commemoration Day.

  • 21st Oct, 1959: On this day in 1959 that a pitched battle was fought against the Chinese in Ladakh close to the border. The Chinese opened fire killing 10 CRPF personnel.

Casualties this year:

  •  This year, tributes were paid to 377 personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty between September 1, 2020, and August 31, 2021. 
  • CRPF:  As the CRPF is deployed in the highly disturbed areas of Jammu and Kashmir, the Northeast and the Left­ Wing Extremist ­affected States, the highest casualties (82) were seen in this force.
  • ITBP:  The Indo­ Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which guards the border from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh at forbidding heights  lost 54 of its personnel, while 
  • BSF: the Border Security Force lost 47 personnel. 
  • State Police: Among the State Police forces,  Chhattisgarh, which is combating the Maoist menace, lost the most personnel (32) folowed by J&K (17) and Karnataka (17)
  • Edmunds: “When you go home Tell them of us and say ‘For your tomorrow, We gave our today’.”

Examples of gallantry:

  1. December 2020, Deputy Commandant Vikas Kumar of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)’s elite unit, CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action), was seriously injured when an IED planted by Maoists went off in Sukma district, Chhattisgarh. He succumbed to his injuries the next day.
  2. In Chintagufa area of Sukma, Assistant Commandant N. Purushottam Bhalerao was seriously injured along with nine other commandos when an IED went off during an anti­ Maoist operation. Bhalerao succumbed to his injuries
  3. In April this year, two police constables — Omkar Raika and Pawan Chaudhary — of the Rajasthan Police were shot dead by suspected drug smugglers when they were carrying out routine checks of vehicles at checkpoints in Bhilwara district. 

Challenges faced by the police personnel despite the bravery:

  1. Low salary: They get paid low salaries
  2. Working Conditions: The Standing Committee on Home Affairs in the year 2017 had expressed concern over the working conditions of personnel of the border guarding forces.
    •  they had to work 16-18 hours a day, with little time for rest or sleep
  3. Deprived of basic facilities: have a poor quality of life and are often deprived of basic facilities.
  4.  Canteen and medical facilities are dismal. Items sold through the Central Police Canteens are not exempted from GST.
  5. variations in the ex­gratia amounts: given to the next of kin of the police who are killed. While certain States like Delhi and Tamil Nadu pay ₹1 crore, several other States dither to pay even half that amount. 

Way Forward:

  1. Modernising the CAPFs: we should take care of modernising the CAPF and corrective action should be taken.
    •  Negotiations with ordnance factories and manufacturers in the public or private sector, to ensure an uninterrupted supply of equipment and other infrastructure.
    • Training needs should also be taken care of, and if required, should be included in the purchase agreement itself.
  2. Provide basic facilities: such as medical care
  3. Uniformity in paid amount:  to the kins of decesssed personnel so that they are not deprived of dissent life
  4. Augmenting States’ Capacity: States must develop their own systems, and augment their police forces by providing adequate training and equipment.
  5. Corrective Measures in Cadre Policy: Citing the dissatisfaction in Cadre policy, Joshi Committee recommended that top positions should be filled from the respective cadre of the CAPF.
  6. Personnel Reforms: Workshops on stress management should regularly be undertaken, and yoga and meditation be made part of the daily exercise for CAPF personne

Additional Information:

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs maintains seven CAPFs:
    1. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF):  which assists in internal security and counterinsurgency.
    2. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF): which protects vital installations (like airports) and public sector undertakings.
    3. The National Security Guards (NSG): which is a special counterterrorism force.
    4. Four border guarding forces:  Border Security Force(BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), and Assam Rifles (AR).
  • Major Functions of CAPFs
    1. Safeguard the security of borders of India
    2.  promote a sense of security among the people living in border areas.
    3. Prevent trans-border crimes, smuggling, unauthorized entry into or exit from the territory of India and to prevent any other illegal activity.
    4. Provide security to sensitive installations, persons at security risk.
    5. Restore and preserve order in any area in the event of disturbance therein.
    6. VIP Protection, Lead Intelligence Agency.

Responding to adversity with achievement

  • Source: The Hindu – Page 6/Editorial – Responding to adversity with achievement.
  • GS 2: Health

Context: India has completed vaccination of 100 crore doses on October 21, 2021, in just about nine months since starting vaccination. This has been a tremendous journey in dealing with COVID-19, especially when we recall how things stood in early 2020. 

The scale and trust

  • For any effort to attain and sustain speed and scale, the trust of all stakeholders is crucial.
  • Contribution of healthcare workers: Our health-care workers traversed hills and crossed rivers across difficult geographies to vaccinate people.
  • Promotion of vaccination program: Our youth, social workers, health-care workers, social and religious leaders, all deserve credit for the fact that India faces minimal vaccine hesitancy when compared to even developed nations.
  • Public trust:  the people of India unanimously trusted ‘Made in India’ vaccines.
  • An equitable scheme: There was a lot of pressure from different interest groups to give preferential treatment to them in vaccination. But the Government ensured that, like our other schemes, there is no VIP culture in the vaccination drive either.
  • Preparing early: In early 2020, when COVID-19 was rampaging across the world, it was clear to us that this pandemic will have to be eventually fought with the help of vaccines. We started preparing early by constituting expert groups and started preparing a road map right from April 2020.
  • Till today, only a handful of countries have developed their own vaccines. More than 180 countries are dependent on an extremely limited pool of producers, and dozens of nations are still waiting for the supply of vaccines, even as India has crossed 100 crore doses.
  • Partnership with Private payers: The Government partnered with the vaccine makers right from day one and gave them support in the form of institutional assistance, scientific research, funding, as well as accelerated regulatory processes.
  • Ensuring supply chain resilience: All Ministries of the Government came together to facilitate the vaccine makers and remove any bottlenecks as a result of our ‘whole of Government’ approach.
  • Focus on last mile delivery and seamless logistics: From a plant in Pune or Hyderabad, the vial is sent to a hub in any of the States, from where it is transported to the district hub. From there, it reaches a vaccination centre. This entails the deployment of thousands of trips taken by flights and trains. All these efforts were complemented by a robust tech platform in CoWIN.

Net result of the COWIN Platform:

  • It ensured that the vaccine drive was equitable, scalable, trackable, and transparent.
  • This ensured that there was no scope for favouritism or jumping the queue.
  • It also ensured that a poor worker could take the first dose in his village and the second dose of the same vaccine in the city where he works, after the required time interval.
  • In addition to a real-time dashboard to boost transparency, the QR-coded certificates ensured verifiability. 

Few Challenges still remain:

  • Availability of raw materials: Countries like India have been deprived of the raw materials to create vaccines citing patent laws
  • Vaccine hesitancy: There is a strong correlation between awareness and vaccine access. People develop hesitancy due to ignorance.
  • Accessibility: Digital and geographical inequity: In India only those who have digital access can avail vaccination. Further, over 85% were administered in just seven states which does not include key states like Tamil Nadu and west Bengal.
  • Affordability: Socio-Economic inequity: The individuals use their purchasing power to access vaccines. Those who cannot afford cannot get vaccinated.
  • Conclusion: Our vaccination drive has yet again showed the power of this ‘Team India’. India’s success in its vaccination drive has also demonstrated to the whole world that ‘democracy can deliver’. I am optimistic that the success achieved in the world’s largest vaccination drive will further spur our youth, our innovators and all levels of Government to set new benchmarks of public service delivery which will be a model not only for our country but also for the world.




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