It is okay if security personnel cannot differentiate between green, red and blue as long as they can distinguish between good and bad.
The union home ministry has opened its eyes to the reality that security personnel do not necessarily need a perfect vision to do their job and can serve the country equally well with mild colour blindness.
The ministry has approved a new relaxed visual standards for recruits, ex-servicemen and officers that not only takes into account more sophisticated tests but also gadgets that make a 6/6 perfect vision irrelevant.
Besides, it also acknowledges that a one-standard-fits-all formula was shutting the doors on meritorious candidates in branches such as law and logistics where lower vision standards would suffice.
"These branches are losing out on lot of deserving candidates due to the above stringent criteria," a home ministry order laying down the new standards conceded.
For instance, it acknowledged that ability of gazette officers to carry out their tasks had been enhanced owing to optical, range-finding and target acquisition devices.
"Hence, it is proposed that the unaided visual acuity criteria be relaxed and best corrected visual acuity be made the real determinant of a candidate's fitness," the order said.
The union home ministry order was based on the recommendations of a group headed by Dr Naveen Ram, director (medical), Central Industrial Security Force.
In case of personnel with colour blindness, the group had recommended against blanket rejection of candidates and ranking their inability to distinguish colours across five levels. Candidates with some problems in distinguishing colours could be accepted depending on the jobs to be performed by them.
"In rarest of rare cases, they may be called upon to perform such duties, but the criteria for the whole induction cannot be made stringent in anticipation of a rarer eventuality which may never occur," the order stated.
"It is a good step," said a Central Reserve Police Force officer, acknowledging that this was the first time that the union home ministry had actually taken job requirements into view.
"There was no logical reason for laying the same visual standards for a paramilitary jawan as a fighter pilot," he said.