The world came crashing down for Amrit Bir Singh, then 21 years old, when his father Raghbir Singh, an inspector with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), was killed in an ambush laid by Maoists in Sukma area of Chhattisgarh in 2017. “The void can’t be filled, but there is some consolation that the government has secured my career by giving me a respectable job,” says Amrit Bir, now 25 and under training as a tehsildar. According to the government officers who interviewed him, besides being the only child of the slain CRPF inspector, he has strong credentials for the job.
Amrit Bir is one of 72 relatives of slain personnel of the armed and paramilitary forces who have been appointed to various posts by the Punjab government since 2017, when Captain Amarinder Singh took over as chief minister. The claims of 11 others are being processed by the state’s department of defence services welfare. The posts include excise and taxation officers, lecturers, tehsildars, naib-tehsildars, assistant registrars and inspectors in the cooperation department, and only those who fulfil the basic qualification norms are appointed. In case the children of the slain personnel are too young for the job, their mother is appointed. According to the new policy cleared by the state cabinet in February, the mother can keep the job for up to 25 years until one of her children is suitably qualified. So far, at least eight women have secured jobs for their children. Two of them lost their husbands during clashes with Chinese forces in the Galwan valley. “This is a good scheme for the children’s future, where they are assured of a job even two decades after their father’s death,” says one of them, who didn’t want to be named.