The Union Home Ministry is considering a proposal to bring the “risk allowance” given to paramilitary personnel deployed in Maoist strongholds on a par with that given to their counterparts in Jammu and Kashmir or the Northeast.
In the past four years, the CRPF has reported more deaths in Maoist-dominated areas of Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand as compared to other insurgency-hit territories. But despite this, personnel posted in left-wing extremism affected areas get lesser risk allowance as compared to those in J&K and the Northeast.
A risk allowance is paid by the government to personnel posted in tough border or conflict zones over and above their salaries.
The move to bring parity comes after Minister of State for Home R P N Singh visited CRPF camps in Chhattisgarh, shortly after the May Darbha attack that killed Congress leaders, where paramilitary personnel complained that they got far lower risk allowance compared to their counterparts in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.
According to sources, the minister took up the issue with Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, and parity in risk allowance is now under consideration.
Singh also intervened to get rules that required jawans to wear hard-sole military boots relaxed. They will be able to wear comfortable shoes in their treks through the jungles now.
Currently, a constable posted in J&K gets Rs 3,750 as risk allowance, while the figure for the Northeast is Rs 3,601. In the LWE areas however, the allowance is only Rs 2,875. For commandants, the amount is Rs 11,156, Rs 11,426 and Rs 7,500 respectively. In the Northeast, personnel also get special duty allowance and special compensation allowance.
The CRPF has been engaged in J&K since 1990 while it started fighting Maoists in 2009 and has suffered maximum casualties in LWE areas. According to the CRPF, more than 40 per cent of its strength is deployed in the LWE areas while 30 per cent is in J&K and 18 per cent in the Northeast.
In government parlance, however, the posting in J&K and the Northeast, where the CRPF is largely engaged in peacekeeping, is a hard posting, while the LWE posting is soft.
The Home Ministry is also taking a look at another aberration in the risk allowance given in LWE areas. Out of the 182 LWE districts, personnel posted in only 35 districts get modified risk allowance, which is Rs 500-700 higher than the normal risk