In a move that could delay the ambitious plan to hold a special examination to induct young central and state police officers into the Indian Police Service, the Home Ministry has agreed to consult chief ministers before sealing the special recruitment plan.
The decision to consult the state governments on the proposed limited departmental examination was taken by Home Minister P. Chidambaram at an inter-ministerial meeting.
The home ministry proposal to induct young officers from the Central Police Organisations and State Police Service would give Assistant Commandant-rank officers with a minimum of five years experience a second chance to join the IPS officers. Most IPS officers, however, oppose this route for recruitment, worried that their entry into the exclusive club would dilute the service ethos.
They insist the government can overcome the shortage by posting IPS officers to the more important posts, leaving the state police service officers to fill the other non-cadre posts.
"If governments withdraw IPS officers from all armed battalions, it would free up considerable resources. These are posts that can easily be filled by officers from CPOs," a senior IPS officer opposed to the home minister's proposal said.
Since the home ministry rejected their suggestions, many IPS officers are planning to attempt convincing their respective chief ministers into opposing the lateral induction. "If a sufficiently large number of chief ministers of big states strongly oppose the MHA plan, the Centre may be forced to revisit its position," the IPS officer said.
It didn't work the last time when the Union Public Service Commission rejected the induction plan and advised the government to recruit more officers through the Civil Services Examination. The Home Ministry stuck to its ground and approached the Prime Minister's Office that asked MHA to hold a meeting with all parties and submit its report.
"The fact is that this is the best route available," a home ministry official said, blaming IPS officers who oppose the Chidambaram plan of not seeing the writing on the wall.
"Any further increase in recruitment of IPS officers beyond the existing 150 officers would lead to stagnation through out the career of officers," he said, insisting that the flaws in the proposed recruitment plan were at best, "minor".
"The problem is that we are willing to work within the worst situations. But when we go for a solution, we want it to be nothing less than perfect… This is how we kill innovative ideas," the senior home ministry official said.