NEW DELHI: Reacting to the alarming number of suicides in paramilitary forces deployed often in very hostile conditions, the government has decided to extend more salary linked benefits to them. Widening the scope of providing socio economic benefits to personnel of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) or paramilitary, National Security Guard (NSG) and Assam Rifles (AR), the ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has eased rules for providing additional Leave Travel Concessions (LTCs) to security men. These personnel will now be able to avail full reimbursement for additional LTCs that they take in a year.
Also, the clause which mandated providing additional LTS only during emergency situations has been dropped. Earlier, security men could only get a reimbursement of 50 per cent of the rail fare on availing additional LTC in a calendar year. Additional LTC was permitted only in the event of death, serious illness or marriage of a member of the family. In a recent communication with the armed men, the MHA clarified, “the new guidelines extend full free railway warrant to all CAPF personnel without imposing conditions of death, illness, marriage etc.”
According to Home ministry, around 700 personnel of the CAPF (CRPF, BSF, CISF, ITBP and SSB) committed suicide in the last six years — a figure surpassing those killed in action. In the case of the Assam Rifles, 27 personnel committed suicide since 2014 and 33 personnel were killed in action.
Last month, Home Ministry officials had told a Parliamentary committee that the personnel are mostly overworked, often denied leave and frequently transferred.
Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba told the panel that one of the main reasons for suicides was personnel staying away from homes for “10-11 months” a year, contributing to marital strife and domestic disputes and leading to “lack of stability and loneliness”. Gauba had told the panel that the nature of work of these personnel was also a factor which led the soldiers to take the extreme step. “…They could not stay at one location and do not have any headquarters at a fixed location. Perhaps, this disturbance is also a contributing factor in incidents of suicides,” Gauba had told the House panel.
Last month, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) gave a relief to paramilitary personnel by allowing them to retain their family accommodations in Delhi. The MoHUA made the decision after the intervention of MHA which said that the CAPF was upset over a MoHUA notification directing them to vacate or sell their Delhi accommodations.