State officers shun CBI deputation for want of official quarters

A CBI posting is considered prestigious, but the agency says investigators from the state police are reluctant to join it due to lack of official quarters.

The CBI made these remarks before a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice when the panel was hearing Demands for Grants (2017-18) for the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension recently. This comes even as 21.91% of the CBI’s sanctioned strength of 7,274 is yet to be filled. Among the executive ranks, 1,068  of the sanctioned 5,000 posts are vacant.

Housing for personnel is a big issue in government services and the CBI has raised the issue of low level of housing satisfaction in the agency — in Delhi, it is 15%, Mumbai 26%, Kolkata 15% and an overall satisfaction level of about 24%. According to norms of the Ministry of Urban Development, the satisfaction level should be 70% in Delhi and 60% elsewhere.

Even if the existing housing projects are completed, the panel said, satisfaction level would remain 33.18% only. The panel has said that unless substantial improvement in vacancy position is achieved immediately, its adverse impact on the performance of the agency would “become visible sooner than later.”

“The nation is facing problems on many fronts like internal security, transnational terrorism, cyber-crimes and corruption and we cannot afford to have such a premier agency understaffed and struggling with a resource crunch,” the panel headed by Congress MP Anand Sharma said.

The committee has recommended that the government may consider making direct recruitment at Group 'A' level. It also suggested making terms of deputation to CBI more attractive so that officers from the state police, paramilitary and Intelligence Bureau among others are ‘tempted to join’ on deputation.

Referring to the CBI's submission that housing problems are the ‘major reason’ why investigators are not taking up assignments in the CBI, the panel said there is a need to significantly enhance the allocation for acquiring land and for building staff quarters to bring the satisfaction level up to somewhere near the level prescribed by the Ministry of Urban Development.

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