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States told to fill SPG quota

The Union Home Ministry has even approached all the states and union territories to fill up the vacancies in the SPG.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2006 13:54 IST
Amitabh Srivastava
Amitabh Srivastava

The elite Special Protection Group (SPG)—entrusted with the security of VIPs, including the President and the Prime Minister—is facing a huge manpower shortage.

The Union Home Ministry has even approached all the states and union territories to fill up the vacancies in the SPG.

Union home secretary V.K. Duggal has admitted as much in a confidential missive to chief secretaries of all states and union territories seeking nominations to fill up the vacancies. “I have reviewed the situation and found that a substantial number of vacancies was creating a serious trouble for the force,” Duggal has written.

“The state government quota in the SPG has been recently reduced to 5 per cent from 10 per cent. But that also has remained vacant due to lack of nominations,” the letter states.

The SPG—a deputation-based force created in 1985 with an initial strength of 819—now has over 3,000 personnel.

The SPG is broadly divided into four segments—operations, training, intelligence and administration. The training procedure of SPG personnel is similar to that of US Secret Service agents. The recruits include police and NSG commandos. The officer cadre mainly has IPS officers from various state/central cadres.

Duggal has also pointed out that the central police forces, despite their operational requirements, constitute 95 per cent of the SPG strength. The union home secretary, therefore, wants the state governments to “take initiatives and sponsor police personnel in adequate numbers in different ranks for a stint with the SPG”.

“The compensation package is quite attractive and a stint with the SPG will also give deputed personnel invaluable experience and exposure to VIP protection. The state government may find this extremely useful once their assignment with the SPG ends,” Duggal has pointed out.

According to secretariat sources, notwithstanding the Centre’s missive the Jharkhand government is finding it hard to spare IPS officers for the SPG.

“With the effective strength of only 79 IPS officers currently available in Jharkhand against the sanctioned 110, several crucial police positions are lying vacant in the state,” said a senior official in the state home department.

“The home department, however, may allow deputation of officers in subordinate ranks up to DSPs. A consensus to this effect, however, is yet to emerge,” the official added.

First Published: Mar 16, 2006 13:54 IST