New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) A Delhi Police constable can be punished for wearing a shabby uniform. But guess what a policeman's annual uniform allowance is - all of Rs.100!
Delhi Police personnel - from a constable till inspector - are provided the cloth from their units and are expected to get the uniform stitched for Rs.100, when the actual cost comes to Rs.800-Rs.1,000. This has been the practice since 1992, when the provision of stitched uniforms was stopped.
Above inspectors are assistant commissioners of police (ACPs), the only other officers to be directly recruited into the force. They get Rs.6,000 as uniform allowance at the time of joining and Rs.3,000 every three years as maintenance allowance.
"A policeman gets three metres of cloth after every 14 months from his unit, but he has to get it stitched from outside tailors. The force stopped providing stitched uniforms in 1992," a senior officer told IANS.
A Delhi policeman told IANS: "Yes, it is one of our allowances which is very low. Before the 1990s, stitched uniforms were given to us. But it was available in just three standard sizes which often did not fit."
Many tailoring shops are located near the police lines in north Delhi. They get work in bulk to stitch uniforms.
Dinesh, the owner of a shop near the police lines, told IANS: "Stitching a police uniform is not easy. It needs expertise. I have two workers who normally take two-three days to stitch a pair of trousers and shirts."
Other central forces provide stitched uniforms to their personnel. They have in-house tailors for this.
"We give our policemen stitched uniforms; so there is no need to give any kind of allowance," a senior officer of the paramilitary Central Industrial Security Force, who did not wish to be named, told IANS.
Another allowance that has not changed since 1992 is the Rs.75 monthly cycle allowance. But considering that most policemen own motorcycles, this is the proverbial drop in the ocean.
Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat told IANS: "All allowances are paid as per the the recommendation of the government's pay commission."
(Alok Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)