Poor pay & or­derly sys­tem sow seeds of dis­con­tent among Men in Khaki


Dis­con­tent is brew­ing among one of the most dis­ci­plined po­lice forces in the coun­try. Its about be­ing paid the least when com­pared to their coun­ter­parts in other states of South In­dia. The Men in Khaki have been us­ing the so­cial me­dia and past­ing posters to high­light their plight, but the move to stage protests was can­celled. Now, cops are pin­ning their hopes on the State gov­ern­ment.

Dur­ing the 2017-18 bud­get, the gov­ern­ment had al­lot­ted the po­lice depart­ment `1,483 crore and `282 crore for the prison depart­ment. “Most of the funds in the bud­get are only an eye­wash. The personnel are not ben­e­fited,” said an of­fice bearer of the Tamil Nadu Con­stab­u­lary As­so­ci­a­tion.

“Usu­ally, be­fore the pay com­mis­sion is fixed, a meet­ing is con­ducted with the con­cerned depart­ment to know their de­mands, which are con­sid­ered. But for the past many years, the de­mands of po­lice personnel have been fall­ing on deaf ears.”

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial data, po­lice personnel in Tamil Nadu are the least paid among states in South In­dia. As per 2016 sta­tis­tics from Bureau of Po­lice Re­search and De­vel­op­ment, those be­tween the ranks of con­sta­bles and deputy su- per­in­ten­dents are the least paid.

For in­stance, the ba­sic pay for a con­sta­ble is `5,200 and grade pay is `1,900, whereas an em­ployee in the same cadre in many other de­part­ments gets `500 to 600 more in grade pay. But the num­ber of work­ing hours is tech­ni­cally more for the po­lice depart­ment as all hol­i­days, in­clud­ing gov­ern­ment ones, are not granted.

Re­call­ing the pay dur­ing the pre­vi­ous pay com­mis­sion, an­other of­fi­cial says, “Dur­ing the fourth pay com­mis­sion, the ba­sic pay used to be `240 for po­lice and `160 for teach­ers, but now they earn about `7,000 to `8,000 and we still make `5,200. How­ever, a hike of about Rs 350 to `500 is granted in Jan­uary and April and dear­ness al­lowance is equal to em­ploy­ees of other de­part­ments.”

Be it floods or soar­ing heat, a nat­u­ral or man-made dis­as­ter, Men in Khaki are the first to reach the spot de­spite this, and had de­cided to stage a protest. It is learnt se­nior po­lice of­fi­cers who got wind of the im­pend­ing protest in­ter­vened and as­sured that a griev­ance meet­ing will be con­ducted soon. Sub­se­quently, calls for protests too faded.

Speak­ing to Ex­press on con­di­tion of anonymity, a sub-in­spec­tor of po­lice in the city said, “I have been in ser­vice for 33 years and get­ting a pay of Rs 59,000, whereas, a con­sta­ble gets Rs 38,000 in some States. Apart from this, even get- ting ap­proval for leave is not that easy be­cause of lack of man­power in the depart­ment. We are asked to work even dur­ing fes­ti­vals and im­por­tant fam­ily func­tions,” he points out.

An­other head con­sta­ble says salary is only one of the ma­jor prob­lems, with the other be­ing the ‘or­derly’ sys­tem, where they are not only at the beck and call of higher of­fi­cials, but also their fam­ily mem­bers.

“When I joined duty, I was sent to clean my se­nior of­fi­cer’s house. His daugh­ter who was about five, used to call me by name and or­der me around. But I could not com­plain nor turn down the work. This led to de­pres­sion, and apart from dif­fi­cultly in get­ting leave even for per­sonal rea­sons, our work­load is too was heavy. This led to fre­quent fights with my fam­ily and I be­came very short -tem­pered. It was only later I re­alised I was un­der de­pres­sion and ap­proached doctors for help,” recalled the head con­sta­ble.

“But there have been cases where po­lice­men com­mit sui­cide. A 24-hour shift, heavy work­load and short­age of man­power would cause se­vere de­pres­sion among serv­ing po­lice personnel. At, least, if the or­derly sys­tem stops and proper shifts and hol­i­days are given with proper salary and in­cen­tives, the po­lice­men will be able to work in pease. And there will be ef­fec­tive polic­ing in the State,” he adds.

“Of course, there are perks in­clud­ing quar­ters and can­teen fa­cil­ity. But, the quar­ters are not main­tained prop­erly and not all the gro­cery items are avail­able in the can­teen. I moved into the quar­ters in 1993 and only last week, the house was painted again.

“As far as the re­tire­ment ben­e­fits are con­cerned, GPF (Gen­eral Prov­i­dent Fund) which was very use­ful for po­lice­men, was stopped from 2003. Pre­vi­ously, a to­tal sum of at least `20 lakh was given at the time of re­tire­ment or in case of death, which was de­ducted from our monthly salary, but after the GPF was stopped, it has made it postre­tire­ment life dif­fi­cult,” points out the personnel.

The of­fice-bearer fur­ther adds that personnel below the rank of in­spec­tors are the ones who are mostly on the field and are the ones who are least recog­nised. “Ten years ago, be­fore ev­ery bud­get, a meet­ing would be con­ducted with po­lice personnel to find out their de­mands, and accordingly the bud­get would be planned. But for many years, no­body has been aware of the money and its us­age. For in­stance, shoe pol­ish is manda­to­rily given to personnel but for the last few years, we have not re­ceived it.”

“De­spite all this, we get all the blame from the pub­lic. Our de­mands are fixed work­ing hours and proper salary,” said the of­fice bearer.

When I joined duty, I was sent to clean my se­nior of­fi­cer’s house. His fiveyear-old daugh­ter used to call me by name and or­der me around Head con­sta­ble

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