The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), a central government-owned multi-skilled security organization, was established in 1969. It primarily provides infrastructure protection services. It is one of the Central Police Forces, (CPFs), under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. Originally created to protect PSUs and governmental buildings, CISF provides security for a variety of infrastructure including airports and ports, heritage monuments and private companies. CISF, like all armed forces that are under the control and supervision of the Home Ministry, has expanded its duties to include protection for VIPs, firefighting, training, security consulting, as well as the protection of UN missions.LessHistories
The central government launched an ambitious program to increase economic growth after India gained independence. The country’s poor private sector made clear that the government would be responsible for heavy industrial and infrastructure development. Public Sector Undertakings, or government-owned corporations, were created in response to this. The first PSU in India, Indian Telephone Industries Limited (ITI), was established under the Ministry of Post and Telegraph’s control in 1948. Between 1948 and 1968, more than 60 additional PSUs were created.
Each PSU was responsible to its own security, and was usually commanded by a police or military officer. There were no central guidelines or mechanisms, so the security provided by each PSU was unique. Due to evolving security threats, the government appointed a security advisor in the Department of Industry. This was responsible for security advice. An inspection of security systems revealed many problems including inadequate training and equipment, insufficient staffing, competing allegiances and lack of comprehensive support. Security advisor suggested establishing a central force for PSU security. A major push for this idea came in the aftermath of a fire at the Heavy Engineering Corporation in Ranchi. The call for a central PSU protector force was reiterated in a subsequent report.
The Central Industrial Security Force Act, 1968 (Act 50 of 1968), adopted on March 10, 1969, provided the framework for the creation and management of CISF. CISF Rules provide the administrative basis for the force. Initially, CISF consisted of 2,800 personnel who were responsible for protecting select PSUs which were entirely owned by India. However, CISF’s strength and importance have increased significantly since then. It now has the responsibility of protecting a variety of infrastructure in India.
Act 50 has been amended four more times: in 1983, 1989 and 1999. The 1983 amendment made CISF an armed force under the Indian government. The 1989 amendment extended the responsibilities of CISF to include the protection of PSU employees. The 1999 amendment was the most significant change in operation for CISF. It allowed CISF to be deployed in any situation deemed necessary by the central government. It also allowed for the deployment of CISF personnel to industrial ventures that were owned or partially funded by the government. It also established CISF security consulting services for both the public and private sectors. In the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attack, the 2009 amendment authorized CISF, on a cost reimbursement basis, to provide security for private installations. This amendment allowed CISF to be deployed abroad to assist Indian embassies and participate in UN missions. After the attacks on September 11, 2001 in the United States of America, the Indian government increased efforts to have CISF take charge of security at major airports.
The 1979 CISF mutiny at Bokaro Steel Complex, where workers wanted higher wages, is one of the most significant black marks in CISF’s history. Trouble began in March and culminated with a clash between CISF personnel, Indian Army and workers at the Bokaro Steel Complex in June. More than 1,000 personnelEngaged in“Acts of insubordination, indiscipline and dereliction of Duty, Dereliction of Duty, Aiding from P. T. & Parade, taking part in processions and raising many slogans.Gheraoof Supervisory Officers participating in hunger striker and dharna”, as well as “invoking threats, violence, bodily injury and other acts of intimidation towards supervisory officers” creating “a condition whereby the normal functioning Force at the CISF Unit in Bokaro had become difficult and impossible.” The central government was forced to send in the Army. The CISF personnel involved engaged in a fierce battle with the Army, resulting in casualties for both sides.LessIt does:
CISF is headquartered in New Delhi and its 130,000+ employees are managed by a director general from the Indian Police Service. Six sectors are divided into the organization, with each headed by an inspector general: east, western, northern and southern, northeastern and airport. The organization is further divided into nine zones, each headed by deputy inspector generals. It consists of seven training institutions – six Recruit Training Centers (NISA) and the National Industrial Security Academy. NISA also houses the Fire Service Training Institute, (FSTI), that provides training in firefighting and disaster management.
Like all armed forces, CISF plays a variety of roles. Although its main focus is on infrastructure protection, the government has expanded the scope of the force’s tasks.
Infrastructure Protection: Currently, CISF provides protection for 308 units as well as fire protection services to 83 industrial undertakings. The CISF Act defines an “Industrial Undertaking” as “any undertaking pertaining a scheduled industrial industry”. This includes any undertaking engaging in any trade, business, or service that may be regulated under law by Parliament. The 308 protected units include “atomic power plants, space installations, defense production units, mines, oil fields and refineries, major sea ports, heavy engineering steel plants, fertilizer units, airports, hydroelectric/thermal power plants, sensitive government buildings and heritage monuments and important Private Sector Units.”
Airport security is a CISF specialty in the area of infrastructure protection. 1999 saw the hijacking of an Indian Airlines flight on its way to Kandahar. This sparked a debate about better airport security management. The Indian government delegated airport security responsibility to CISF in 2000. Before this, airport security was the responsibility of state governments. After the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., this pace intensified, with the force now responsible for security at 58 domestic and international airports in India. This includes the major airports of Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, and Kolkata.
The security of the Delhi Metro is also provided by CISF. In 2007, the force began working with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. Over 4,500 people guard the 141 Metro Stations as well as 165,000 passengers. CISF was also assigned to protect the Delhi Airport Metro Express Line by Reliance Infrastructure in 2012.
India’s 13 largest ports, along with the Delhi Metro and airports, are covered by CISF. In January 2012, the National Shipping Board (NSB) recommended that CISF be deployed to all ports in India, including 187 minor ports. The success of the CISF at protecting India’s airports was the basis for the recommendation by the NSB.
The government made it possible for CISF protection to private industrial facilities under a cost-reimbursement model after the attacks on Mumbai in 2008. The Indian government pays the bill for salaries and related expenses such as uniforms, equipment, and other items. Infosys became the first company to be granted protection in July 2009. The scope and demand for protection have increased dramatically since then. In 2011, CISF was involved in negotiations or provided security for Infosys Tech Ltd., Reliance’s Jamnagar Refinery and Delhi Airport Metro Express Line.
(Assam). In 2010, CISF was inducted into Ratnagiri Gas & Thermal Power Station Ltd. and Rajiv Gandhi Thermal Power project. It has been reported that about 100 companies have requested CISF presence for their facilities.
The CISF’s Government Building Security (GBS), unit guards 29 government buildings. This includes North Block, South Block and the CGO Complex in Delhi. Heritage monuments such as the Taj Mahal and Salarjung Museum are also protected.
The infrastructure mandate of CISF goes beyond physical protection of premises. The Fire Wing is made up of over 5,000 people and provides assistance in fire management to 83 industrial enterprises most at risk from fire-related incidents. These include space installations, power plants, steel plants, and refineries. One of the best-trained and most equipped firefighting units within the government is the CISF Fire Wing.
VIP Protection: A Group of Ministers was formed to examine all aspects of India’s security establishment in the wake of the Kargil war. The Group of Ministers Report on Reforming the National Security System was published and recommended that it be adopted.
“Security of vital points, areas and installations, as also of the VIPs, should ideally be with the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is a professionally trained force for industrial/installation security. For VIP security, a Special Duties Group (SDG), should be established in the CISF.
This was the reason why CISF created the Special Security Group (SSG), which is a security group for VIPs. The SSG protects individuals with Z-level security (a protection cover of 26 personnel) and Y-level safety (a protective coverage of 18 personnel). The famed National Security Guards, (NSG), “Black Cats” protect those with Z+-level security. This is a protection level that covers 30 or more people.
Security Consulting: In December 2001, the Consultancy Services of CISF was launched. This move was prompted by the increasing liberalization and privatization in the Indian economy. Security was becoming a more important issue as Indian companies became more involved in the Indian economy. With over three decades of experience in infrastructure protection, CISF was tapped to help these companies develop comprehensive security solutions. Services offered by CISF include “threat perception and risk analysis, assessment of manpower requirements, security and fire audit, procedures for material security, internal intelligence, fire protection measures, crowd control and management procedures, executive protection, and crisis management schemes.” Almost 100 have utilized the consultancy services. GMR, Hero Honda Motors and Petronet-LNG Terminal are just a few of the many companies that have used these services.
- 1999 Amendment to the CISF Act allowed for the force to be deployed in any location and in any situation the central government deems appropriate. It is not surprising that CISF was given law and order maintenance duties numerous times due to India’s security problems. The largest internal security obligation of CISF is election security in sensitive locations.
- CISF also offers training to state and central government agencies. CISF was instrumental in the training of Karnataka State Industrial Security Force, which will be acting as Karnataka’s CISF.
- The CISF is sent abroad to protect Indian diplomats. The personnel have been deployed to Pakistan, Kathmandu and Nepal. CISF personnel were also deployed to Haiti in support of India’s UN peacekeeping obligations as part of a Formed Police Unit.
CISF is involved in disaster management and its battalions form part of the National Disaster Response Force. CISF is India’s designated “first responder“for nuclear, chemical, biological, and natural disasters.LessWhere does the money go?
Since 2000, CISF has seen its budget triple. Although inflation and other economic variables are important, the main factor behind the budget increase was CISF’s rapid expansion. Although neither the CISF nor Home Ministry provide actual breakdowns of the CISF budgets, it is clear that expansion projects will consume a substantial portion of the force’s budget. The CISF should be deployed at 187 minor ports. Private companies can request CISF presence and it is recommended that CISF be deployed there.Increasing internal security roleThis will create pressure to expand the force. CISF faces a shortage in 10,000 personnel.Decided to increaseIts recruitment. The majority of CISF’s budget is spent on operating expenses, including salaries, equipment and the operation of training institutes.LessControversies
India’s corruption problem is widespread and the armed forces can be affected. Armed forces personnel often engage in illegal behavior without being charged, despite the fact that they have access to special protection from the military and generally lax standards. More than 260 allegations of corruption and harassment against the CISF were filed between 2001 and 2010. March 2012 saw CISF personnel being arrested for large-scale opium smuggling from the Government Opium Alkaloid Works. Similar reports indicated that CISF personnel asked for and received bribes. One instance was when a CISF officer demanded bribes of four constables to accept their resignations. The March 2012 demonstration in Assam by the All India Central Council of Trade Unions against the CISF’s murder of a man was led by the AICCTU. According to the AICCTU, the agitation was caused by the refusal of the men to pay the bribes required by CISF personnel. It doesn’t seem to cost much to bribe CISF personnel. Subhash Sen, Secretary of AICCTU, accused the CISF staff of corruption. He claims that “the CISF regularly takes Rs. 10 to Rs. 15 as a bribe.”
Four Other CISF Cops Arrested In Opium Siphoning Case (by Rajeev Dikshit, Times of India)
CBI Arrests an Inspector at CISF For Accepting a Bribe Of Rs. One Lakh (Probe Times).
Bribe For Entry Into Refinery: HC Dismisses Plea Of CISF Man (by Rahul, Lawyers Club India)
The Home Ministry’s armed forces are often used for many purposes. This is the case with the CISF as well. While the CISF has expanded its duties in the short-term, it has also provided manpower. However, this has made the force more stretched than necessary and may compromise the performance of its core tasks. Various reform proposals have been made for the central police force and, by extension, the CISF.
One proposal proposes to split the seven current forces into three. Each one would be responsible for infrastructure security, border security or internal security. This scale would be restructured to remove CISF’s extraneous responsibilities, including internal security, natural catastrophe management, and VIP security. It will allow it to concentrate on infrastructure security. Another suggestion is to create a separate VIP security unit that would take the burden off CISF and other forces that do not have anything to do with VIP security.
Time to Merge Troops under Home Ministry (by Nitin Pai, Daily News & Analysis)
NSG Chief: A New Agency Should Manage VIP Security(Thaindian News).LessDebate:
On January 2, 2012, CISF personnel opened fire on a group protestors in Boniyar Jammu & Kashmir, who were protesting power cuts at NHPC plant. This facility is under CISF protection. Altaf Ahmad, an 18-year-old student, was shot and killed by gunshot wounds. Protests erupted in response to the killing, and demanded that those responsible be brought before a judge and held accountable. State Police arrested CISF employees involved in the shooting following protests and demands for a trial. CISF responded by invoking the AFSPA and subsequent immunity. Opponents argue that because of the CISF’s role in this matter, the personnel involved are not eligible to AFSPA.
This position is supported by the CISF as well as the Indian government. They point out that Kashmir is a “disturbed region” and therefore armed forces engaged in internal security duties have AFSPA coverage. The Indian government also stated that the “area where the incident occurred” was a prohibited area. This is not true. Banned areas refer to places where there is insurgency. This is an area where a government facility is located. CISF also stated that state police officers need permission from the central government before they arrest members of an armed force controlled by the central government.
The March 2012 demonstration in Assam by the All India Central Council of Trade Unions against the CISF’s murder of a man was organized by the AICCTU. AICCTU claims that the agitation took place because the men refused the bribes required by the CISF personnel.
Omar Abdullah (chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir) supports this position and is a strong opponent to the AFSPA. Abdullah criticized the killing for being “excessive” as well as “inexcusable.” He also pointed out that despite Kashmir being a disturbed area, AFSPA does NOT apply to CISF. Shahid Ali Shah, the Public Prosecutor, argued that CISF actions are not official because there is no “reasonable link” between the act complained about and the discharge of official duties.
CISF Invokes AFSPA in Boniyar Killing (by Umer Maqbool, Greater Kashmir)
CISF Men Charged for Boniyar Killing (by Umer Maqbool, Greater Kashmir)
‘No AFSPA Cover for Arrested CISF Troops’ (Times of India)
CISF and Police Fight in Court over Death of Jammu and Kashmir Teenager (by Aman Sharma, India Today)
Niraj Ranjan Das
From November 2008 to January 2012, Niraj Ranjan Das was the director general of CISF
He was a postgraduate student in political science at Delhi University and became an IPS officer for the 1973 batch West Bengal cadre.
His police career began in West Bengal. He was a SDPO, Bishnupur and Addl.SP South Industrial 24 Paraganas, as well as Inspector General of North Bengal, and South Bengal. He was also a SP Behrampur, SP Vigilance (Cuttak division), and DIG Vigilance Orissa.
Before he was appointed director general of CISF he had been on deputation to the central government for over 16 years. 14 of those were spent at CISF. When he was elected to become CISF’s director-general, he served as the additional chief general (East Zone), for the Central Reserve Police Force.
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