New Delhi: The Centre has decided to launch a special drive to ensure adequate representation of minority communities in paramilitary forces.

Besides, the government is also going to strengthen the number of women in security forces.

The move assumes significance as it came after the Home Ministry noticed that the current recruitment process has not been able to reach out to remote areas and vacancies reserved for youth from border areas and Maoist-affected areas have not been filled up.

"Special efforts will be made to increase representation of minorities and women in the forces," a Home Ministry official said.

The decision, the official said, will help as a confidence building measure among minority communities and women once they have adequate representation in the forces which traditionally have been male bastions.

Justice (retd) Rajinder Sachar, who had prepared a report on social, economic and educational condition of the Muslim community in India, said percentage of minorities in police forces was "very low" and there was hardly any inspector from minority communities posted in minority- dominated areas.

"If you have inspector from minority community, it will give confidence to local people," he said.

The Home Ministry held a meeting with Directors General of paramilitary forces last week on revamping the recruitment process for induction of constables and other ranks.

The meeting, chaired by Minister of State for Home Jitendra Singh, has chalked out a road map so that the forces are able to remove these deficiencies in the next recruitment cycle starting in December.

Nearly one lakh posts, including 25,000 in the BSF and 17,000 in the CRPF, are lying vacant in seven paramilitary forces in the country.

Besides, nearly 40,000 paramilitary personnel opted for voluntary retirements and resignations in the last five years.

"There is a need to give adequate representation to people belonging to minority and backward communities. Similarly, women need to be encouraged to join security forces. This will help in further improving law and order situation in the country," the Home Ministry official said.

He said the Ministry will soon write to chiefs of paramilitary forces and heads of state police to ensure that the minorities and women get their due presence.

There are seven paramilitary forces in the country -- Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Sashastra Seema Bal, National Security Guard and Assam Rifles.


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