Police demand risk allowanceShakahwat Hossain
The home ministry in its budgetary proposal last week placed the demand for paying the police 70 per cent of basic salary as risk allowance from the next fiscal year which according to finance ministry calculations would require an additional expenditure of Tk 8.24 billion a year from the public exchequer, officials said.
The home ministry’s budgetary proposal sent to the finance ministry last week justified the risk allowance for the police on a number of grounds.
Justifying the proposal officials told New Age the police in India, Ireland and the Punjab province in Pakistan get allowance.
The proposal states that the police in Bangladesh is required to perform duty at least 15 hours a day and not 8 hours a day.
Besides, it says in the last fiscal year alone the police earned Tk 3.2 billion equivalent of foreign exchange while in the UN peace keeping missions abroad.
But critics said that the police face criticisms for its controversial image linked to bribes and underhand payments.
Besides, the image of the police took a beating due to its growing politicization.
The politicization of the police and the administration is a matter of worry finance minister AMA Muhith told a pre-budget discussion on Sunday.
Officials said that finance ministry calculations showed that it would require the government to set aside an additional amount of Tk 8.24 billion to meet the demand at a time severe resource constraints forced it to opt for austerity measures.
They said that dwindling foreign assistance and rising expenditure on import of fuel oils and fertilizers left the government with no option but to cut expenses.
Eight lower ranks from inspectors down to constables account for 1,22,758 or 98 per cent of 1,24,366 -- the total strength of Bangladesh police force, according to the information posted on the Bangladesh police website.
Each lower ranking police personnel gets Tk 520 a month as special allowance introduced over five years ago.
Besides, following a home ministry demand the government in 2010 increased supply of food items to the police at subsidized rate.
Finance ministry official said that early this year a separate home ministry proposal asked for ‘special allowance’ for field-level police personnel to encourage them to take risks in the maintenance of law and order.
The response of the finance ministry was not positive, they said.
Mirpur police officer-in-charge Wazed Ali said that the police have been demanding risk allowance equivalent to 100 per cent of their basic pay for long.
He said described the existing risk allowance of Tk 520, introduced five to six years ago, was not sufficient.
He said that that police was required to tackle increasing number of risky incidents unlike the government personnel in other departments.
An assurance made by the prime minister in December that the risk allowance for the police force would be enhanced made the police upbeat, he added
He said that the government was already providing officials on war crime trial duty 60 per cent of their monthly pay as risk allowance.
Besides, said police personnel that Rapid Action Battalion personnel were getting 70 per cent of basic pay as risk allowance since its inception in 2004.
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