Despite grim security scenerio, India is desperately running short of spies.
Every second post at the level of Superintendent of Police (SP) to be manned by Indian Police Service (IPS) officers in the Intelligence Bureau — India’s primary counter-terrorism agency — is vacant.
According to official figures, as accessed by Hindustan Times, 57 of the 83 posts of SPs and 28 of the 63 posts of DIGs in the IB are vacant.
“This is disastrous,” said Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Delhi-based think tank, Institute for Conflict Management. “In any pyramidical organisation, if there is deficiency at one level, it affects the organisational working,” he explained.
Home ministry officials said they were going to relax existing norms to encourage IPS officers to come to Delhi. “There is a proposal to halve the time taken to induct an IPS officer into the bureau on a permanent basis to four years,” a home ministry official said.
Once this proposal is cleared, the IB will give an IPS officer the option to become a hard-core officer in IB after four years rather than the existing eight. Hard-core officers do not have to serve in the states after completing a five-year term on central deputation.
Another proposal seeks to make an unusual exception for IPS officers in states and ask them to specify the organisation where they want to be posted.
“The government would try to accommodate their preferences to the extent possible,” a ministry official said. The problem of vacant posts, however, runs deeper and wider.
According to the home ministry’s budget documents this year, one in every three posts in the IB was vacant in 2008, the last year for which figures were reported.
The IB had 11,500 personnel, against the sanctioned strength of over 17,700.
A beginning has been made to recruit young talent, but the problem won’t vanish soon. “They can’t be put into the field without putting them through intensive training that would help them become spymasters,” an intelligence official said.