The Intelligence Bureau (IB), whose work has increased manifold in recent times due to the increased threat perception from jihadi terror networks, most notably the ISIS, is facing a severe shortage of staff. This has forced officers involved in intelligence gathering to do multi-tasking, which in turn has affected their performance.
IB officers, who are posted in various parts of the country, said that because of this shortage of staff, they are being assigned multiple responsibilities, as a result of which they are not able to concentrate on one particular desk for which they are assigned. “I am currently keeping an eye on suspects who arrive in India through international flights and I am also working on collecting intelligence related to the ISIS. These two work profiles are different altogether,” an IB officer posted in Kerala told this correspondent.
According to senior intelligence officers, the IB suffers from around a 30% shortage of officers. “This shortage has not developed overnight. It kept on increasing due to multiple factors like the optimisation scheme, which disallowed direct recruitment until 2005. Almost 2,000 posts are vacant because of non availability of suitable officers from other departments like the Central paramilitary forces. A similar number of vacancies are because of the non availability of suitable officers who can be promoted. Not many youngsters want to join the IB under direct recruitment as it’s not seen as a ‘glamorous’ job. The government needs to take steps in order to increase the youth’s inclination to join the IB,” said a senior IPS officer, who was until recently serving in the IB. Sources said that the IB has been sanctioned close to 28,000 personnel, out of which only 19,000 personnel are currently working for the agency.
Apart from keeping an eye on internal security, the IB also does political intelligence work for the government and keeps a tab on foreign nationals coming to India. “Our work is not just limited to watching the jihadi networks. We are entrusted with the job of intelligence gathering on issues related to Naxalism in Chhattisgarh, separatism in Kashmir and militancy in the Northeast. So the IB deals with a plethora of issues in which specialists are required. Before sending an officer to, say Baramulla in the Kashmir valley, we need to feed him with a huge amount of information so that he can carry out effective intelligence gathering. This process requires time. Unless and until we have the required number of officers, we cannot effectively gather information that can be passed to other agencies for suitable action,” said an IB officer.
According to him, IB inputs have helped foil many terrorist threats in recent times. But that does not come out in the public domain. “In November, we generated three specific inputs related to terror attacks, as a result of which these attacks were stopped before they could be executed. However, this piece of information did not come out in the public domain because of the nature of our work. Conversely, we are the first to be blamed for any terror strike that takes place,” he lamented.