New Delhi, Sept. 12: The Centre has proposed a separate intelligence cadre in the state police forces, which at present don’t hire anyone only to be a spy.
“The Centre could provide funds for states to recruit people specifically to gather intelligence. A separate cadre can be formed so that constables or sub-inspectors can be recruited only for intelligence duties,” a home ministry source said.
On Monday, home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had said he was mooting a separate “force” for intelligence gathering. But sources said he meant a separate “cadre” — an idea that has been floated at several forums in the past.
The proposal could be taken up by a nine-member standing committee constituted last week by the home ministry to suggest police reforms. Headed by the director of the Intelligence Bureau, the committee’s members include the CBI director, the directors-general of the CRPF, BSF and Bureau of Police Research and Development, and police heads of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Jammu and Kashmir.
The decision whether to have such an intelligence cadre would rest entirely with the states, the sources said. However, the Centre could offer incentives to push them to follow recommendations. Modernisation funds to states even at present have a component for state intelligence wings, but this is only towards technology and not manpower.
India is facing a severe crunch in ground level intelligence gathering, with just one operative for every 40,000 people. On Saturday, addressing a police conference, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called for urgent action to strengthen intelligence gathering.
State police forces have a special branch dedicated to intelligence but, unlike the Intelligence Bureau (IB) or the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), they don’t recruit officers specifically for this job. Instead, recruits into the police force are given the option of joining the special branch and can be transferred out to another wing at any time.
The IB, the central domestic intelligence force, is staffed with its own recruits at the junior-level although officers from other departments who opt for intelligence gathering are accepted on deputation. At the senior level, the force is manned by IPS officers who come on deputation and, after a few years, are given the option of returning to their parent cadre or staying on and turning “hardcore” IB officers.
RAW, the external intelligence agency, has a larger proportion of its own cadre even in senior positions although few make it right to the top.
Shinde had noted during his first monthly briefing to the media as home minister on Monday that intelligence operatives have a “risky job”. They run the risk of being identified and steps need to be taken in that respect, said the minister who was once a constable in Maharashtra police.