Topic particularly important for those appearing in CPF/CAPF interview.
  1. Why is CISF important?
  2. Background: CISF vs ASF
  3. Problem: Aviation Security Force (ASF)
  4. Arguments against creation of ASF
  5. Removal of CISF security Cover

Why is CISF important?

  1. The scene of operations has shifted from rural and jungle areas to highly populated centres.
  2. Nowadays the terrorist/extremists want to attack high profile targets like historical monuments, critical infrastructure and public transport.
  3. Thus CISF is crucial because it provides security to such prime installations in the country, including airports, Delhi Metro, steel, coal and power utilities.

Background: CISF vs ASF

  • In the beginning, State Police was responsible for airport security in their respective states.
  • But in 1999, Terrorists hijacked an Indian Airlines flight (IC-814) took it to Kandahar, Afghanistan.
  • From then onwards, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), was given the responsibility of airport security.
  • CISF manages security at 59 airports across the country, deploying its nearly 21,000 personnel.
  • The cost of maintaining CISF security is charged on passangers= Rs.150 to 250 per person as “passenger services fee”.

Problem: Aviation Security Force (ASF)

  • In August 2012, Civil Aviation Ministry considered a proposal to create an exclusive Aviation Security Force (ASF) for airports across the country.
  • Aviation Security Force will report to Civil Aviation Ministry (and not to Home Ministry)

Arguments against creation of ASF

  1. CISF is already deployed at the airports, akin to the Transport Security Administration (TSA) in the USA. This model is also beneficial when it comes to intelligence sharing with the central intelligence agencies who also report to the MHA.
  2. This system has worked quite well both at the central and local levels due to close coordination between CISF, Intelligence Bureau (IB) and state intelligence.
  3. Such an arrangement will not be possible if the force reports to the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
  4. CISF is a central armed police force, so its personnel cannot form association or join any kind of agitation or union activities.
  5. There is no clarity on whether ASF will be kept away from forming a union. If yes, that might lead to strikes and problems which are common with AirIndia=not good for security.

Removal of CISF security Cover

  • In Nov 2012, Civil Aviation Ministry decided: Airports that are not “hyper-sensitive” should be secured by State Police personnel instead of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
  • CISF currently manages security at 59 airports across the country.
  • Civil Aviation Ministry has decided to replace them from 47 airports that are not hyper sensitive.
  • So CISF will handle only 59-47=12 airports only.
  • Argument in favor: This will reduce airfares. Because payment for security is collected from passengers through a passenger services fee that ranges between Rs 150 to Rs 250 per ticket. State Police is cheaper than CISF.
  • Argument against: In terms of weapons, tactics and training, State Police is no match to deal with terror / hostage crisis at airports.