Noting that paramilitary jawans get “grossly insufficient” rest and sleep, a Parliamentary panel has expressed anguish over their “flawed” duty systems and recommended a gap of 8 to 10 hours between two shifts. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, headed by senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, said the Home Ministry’s submission that a jawan gets minimum of six hours uninterrupted sleep in every cycle of 24 hours is at variance with the facts observed and learnt by the Committee during its study visits.
“The Committee is anguished to observe that the flawed system leaves grossly insufficient time for jawans to get decent rest and sleep,” the panel said in its report tabled in Parliament. The Committee said it was concerned to note that due to shortage of manpower, jawans are forced to perform 16-18 hours of duty in a day.
“The BSF needs to revise its duty system so as to ensure at least one gap of 8 to 10 hours between two consecutive shifts. Moreover, a patrolling shift of 6 hours is unduly long and without adequate rest a jawan cannot be expected to remain alert throughout the shift,” it said.
The report comes three months after a BSF jawan alleged poor quality food for personnel and corruption in the ration allotment system, triggering widespread outrage.
The panel recommended that this duty system should be rationalised by creating six shifts of four hours each in a day with a gap of 8 to 10 hours between these two shifts of four hours each in a day with a gap of 8 hours of sleep plus two hours to attend his personal needs.
The Committee also recommended that the Ministry should assess the amount of additional man power required to adopt this system and should have sufficient number of Reserve Battalions.