In the aftermath of 26/11, deputation rules for Indian Police Service (IPS) officers to serve in the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) have come under the scanner. RAW has its own Group A officers’ cadre, known as the Research & Analysis Service (RAS).
Officers directly recruited to RAS during the probation period learn at least one foreign language and undergo rigorous training in intelligence gathering techniques. They are also taught how to carry out operations in hostile conditions. More importantly, they learn how to lead a life in complete anonymity.
As intelligence agencies came under the scanner after 26/11, some RAS officers told Hindustan Times the agency ought to revert back to the old deputation rules prevalent till January 2007.
According to those rules, IPS officers serving in RAW after completing a deputation period of eight years had to leave their parent service and get absorbed into RAS if they wanted to continue with the intelligence agency. But in 2007, the MHA introduced a system of “permanent secondment” under which the IPS officers did not have to get absorbed into RAS any more. “Permanent secondment” refers to long-term deputation. RAS officers complained they got a raw deal with the introduction of the new system as the IPS officers “had the best of both worlds”.
The deputation policy notified by the MHA in 2000 said: “IPS officers will join the RAW, as per normal tenure of deputation. Before expiry of the normal tenure of deputation, the proposal for extension in deputation tenure for a period of 4 years will be moved by Secretary (Research) for approval of the government…. One year before the expiry of the second extension or when the officer becomes eligible for promotion to the rank of Director or Joint Secretary, whichever is earlier, subject to a minimum tenure of 8 years in RAW, he will be considered for absorption in RAS. If he is not recommended for absorption in RAS, he will be reverted back to his parent cadre after the extended tenure comes to an end.”
In January 2007, the absorption requirement was ended. The new policy said: “One year before expiry of the extension, the officer will be considered for induction on permanent secondment basis by a committee comprising of Cabinet Secretary, Home Secretary, Secretary (Personnel) and Secretary (Research).”
This policy further said: “An officer once inducted in the permanent secondment would continue in RAW and would not be repatriated to his/her parent cadre/state.”
It also said the “permanently seconded officers” can occupy 50 per cent of the posts in the rank of under secretary, deputy secretary and director in the deputation quota.
RAS officers complain this change has created two parallel cadres within RAW.
A senior IPS officer, who served in RAW and has returned to the state cadre, however told HT: “Getting absorbed into RAS was a deterrent for many to continue in RAW for long. But the new rules still provide many safeguards to repatriate officers to parent cadre/state in case their professional utilities decline. Thus the apprehensions of RAS officers are not correct.”