Some officers have orderlies for gardening, cooking, buying vegetables and even for plumbing.

CM announces end to orderly system will Karnatakas cops finally get a breather
news Orderly System Saturday, November 19, 2016 - 20:22

Close to six months after the constabulary of the Karnataka Police threatened to go on mass leave, the Karnataka government has spelled out a slew of welfare measures. However, cops in the lower rungs of the force say that the government was ignoring the most important aspect of all – shortage of personnel.

In an announcement on Friday, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that the orderly system would be scrapped. He also said that other measures, such as recruitment of constables, were being implemented.

The orderly system in the police forces across the country was introduced by the British. This allowed constables and home guards to be appointed as personal attendants to IPS officers of rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and above. 

Initially the idea was to have a constable help an officer with on-field duties. But over time, orderlies have been all but been reduced to the personal servants of senior officers, made to do every kind of domestic work and even demeaning tasks.

On record, there are over 3,000 personnel from reserved forces performing duties of an orderly in Karnataka. 

President of the Akhila Karnataka Police Mahasangha, Shashidhar Venugopal, however, estimates that the number is higher. 

“Every IPS officer has over 20 to 25 orderlies doing menial jobs at his home. From the smallest of things like keeping shoes polished to driving the officer to work is done by these orderlies. Some officers have orderlies for gardening, cooking, buying vegetables and even for plumbing. This will easily be five times the number government claims,” he claimed. Shashidhar is out on bail after being arrested by the state police for instigating the constabulary to go on a mass protest in June.  

However, Shashidhar adds that not everyone is forced. Some of the armed reserve police forces in cities and districts volunteer to become orderlies. 

“Some people who have passed SSLC but have a slight disability or are not very fit, get jobs in the reserved forces, and are under the mercy of superior officers. They can be made to do errands and yet claim they are working for the police force,” he said. 

A constable from Mysuru told The News Minute that duties of constables from reserved forces involve escorting accused from jail to court and back and officials during inspections. 

“Unlike the civil forces, the personnel in the reserved forces have to do routine work. Not everyone is forced to become an orderly. Many choose to become orderlies as they might be able to avail favours from the officers later or get leniency at the workplace,” he said. 

The constable adds that orderly system cannot be completely removed as the Karnataka Civil Services Rules mandate that confidential work must be carried out by police personnel.  

“Let the orderly system stay. But the government must amend the rules to recruit orderlies instead of using personnel within the force as orderlies. In Tamil Nadu, the government gives orderlies a promotion and lets them join the constabulary,” the constable added. 

Other reforms

Among the other measures that the government has announced, include the introduction of allowances. The salary of police personnel has been increased by Rs 2,000 per month from December 1. 

Allowances that have been introduced or hiked include a raise in uniform allowance from Rs 100 to Rs 500 per month; new allowances include Rs 600 for conveyance, and Rs 1,000 for hardship. These are meant for personnel from constable to sub-inspector rank, which covers almost 90% of the force. 

A Bengaluru-based police constable, under the condition of anonymity told The News Minute that the government was not being realistic.

“Many times these allowances are pocketed by the authorities; they give different reasons for doing it. The government is not even being realistic. How will Rs 500 a month be enough for a traffic cop who spends all his day outside in the dust and sun. Ask any of them, they will say it costs them over Rs 1,200 every month to maintain their clothes,” he said.

Constables who have completed 10 years of service will be eligible for promotions. The government has decided to make changes in the rules that earlier mandated promotion only for constables who completed 20 years in service.

"If someone joins as a constable, they don't get promotion for about 20-23 years. At the most, he/she may retire as head constable or ASI. So we have decided to make changes to the rules to see to (it) that they get promotion in 10 years," Siddaramaiah said.

A police constable from Mysuru district said that other than just introducing new rules or changing old ones, the government should look at recruiting more personnel. 

“As long as I don’t compare my salary with others’, I am content with the salary that I am getting at the moment. The government should instead focus on recruiting more personnel into the force. This will ease work pressure on many,” he said.

“But if I were married with two children and still earning the same salary, then I might face the pinch,” he added a moment later.

 

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