Central Armed Police Forces – Components and Recruitment

Central Armed Police Forces- Components and Recruitment

Central Armed Police Forces- Components and Recruitment

Security of the nation is of supreme importance and it is the police force which plays an extremely crucial role in maintaining the peace and harmony at any place.

CAPF plays an important role in protecting the borders while maintaining internal security. Security Forces in India are broadly classified into two categories – Indian Armed Forces and Central Armed Police Forces.

Excluding the Indian Armed Forces and the Paramilitary Forces, all other are regarded as police forces. Central Armed Police Forces mainly comprises of seven security forces which guard the borders of the nation.

It includes Assam Rifles (AR), Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), National Security Guard (NSG), and Shashastra Seema Bal (SSB).

Assam Rifles - Indian Armed ForcesAssam Rifles

Assam Rifles is the oldest force which comes under CAPF. The origin of Assam Rifles can be traced back to 1835, when it served as a paramilitary force under the British rule. The paramilitary force was then named “Cacher Lavy”. There are currently 46 battalions and nearly 63,000 personnel. Assam Rifles is headed by The Ministry of Home Affairs and performs many roles including border security operations, provision of internal security under army, medical assistance and education in remote areas.

It can serve as a combat force during war times. Since 2002, Assam Rifles has been guarding the Indo-Myanmar barrier as per the government’s policy of one border one force.

Border Security ForceBorder Security Force (BSF)

Raised in the wake of the 1965 war, BSF was formed for guarding the land borders of India during peacetime and also preventing transnational crime. BSF is an armed force of the Union of India headed by an officer from the IPS (Indian Police Service), designated as a Director General (DG). The BSF has 186 battalions with a strength of 257,363 personnel.

It has an air wing, marine wing, artillery regiments and commando units. The BSF is currently the largest border-guarding force in the world. It guards the Indian borders shared with Pakistan and Bangladesh and is deployed both on the International Border (IB) and Line Of Control (LOC).

Central Reserve Police ForceCentral Reserve Police Force (CRPF)

CRPF is considered as India’s largest Central Armed Police Forces. It works under the aegis of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. The CRPF plays a major role in security arrangements. It is deployed in every part of the country, actively looking after the internal security. The CRPF contingents are also being deployed in the UN missions. CRPF also plays a major role during the general elections. There are 239 battalions and 313,678 personnel in the CRPF.


CRPF is further bifurcated into 2 units

  • Rapid Action Force (RAF)
  • Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA)

Central Industrial Security ForceCentral Industrial Security Force (CISF)

The CISF is responsible to provide security to industrial units, government projects, and establishments all over India and is one of the main wings of CAPF. It provides security services to seaports, airways, and some other space installations in India. CISF provides consultancy services to private as well as government organisations and institutions such as TISCO, Jamshedpur; Vidhan Sabha, Bangalore; IARI, Delhi etc. There are some reserved battalions under CISF which work with state police to maintain law and order. A unique feature associated with CISF is that it has a Fire Wing which provides assistance during major fire outbreaks.

IndoTibetan Border PoliceIndo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police force was raised in the wake of the Sino-Indian War of 1962, under the CRPF Act. It is deployed along India’s border with Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Consisting of 56 battalions and possessing a strength of nearly 90,000 personnel, this force is trained in Civil Medical Camp, Disaster Management, nuclear, biological and chemical disasters. The ITBP also has a water wing which is a special unit. It guards the riverine borders of the Himalayan region which includes Pangong lake, Brahmaputra region in Arunachal Pradesh, and Indus river in Jammu and Kashmir.

National Security GuardNational Security Guard (NSG)

Commonly referred to as “Black Cats” in media,(because of the black outfit and cat insignia) NSG comes under the authority of the Ministry of Home Affairs. It was raised in 1984 following the Operation Blue Star and the assassination of Indira Gandhi. The NSG is well trained to conduct counter terrorist attacks, hijacking on land, sea, and air, Post Blast Investigation, Bomb disposal, hostage rescue missions. It contains officers from defence forces as well as police forces.


Headquartered at Mehram Nagar, Palam, New Delhi, this organisation has four wings

  • Special Action Group (SAG)
  • Special Ranger Group (SRG)
  • Special Composite Group (SCG)
  • National Bomb Data Centre

Sashastra Seema BalSashastra Seema Bal (SSB)

Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) is under the aegis of the Ministry of Home Affairs. It is sometimes referred to as Armed Border Force. SSB came into existence in 1963 following the Sino-Indian War. Prior to 2001, it was known as the Special Service Bureau. Currently, SSB is assigned for manning the Nepal and Bhutan borders (due to one border, one force concept). SSB performs internal security duties, election duties, and law and order duties in India. Moreover, it is engaged in Counter-Insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and Anti-Naxal operations in Jharkhand, Bihar, and Chhattisgarh. Currently, SSB has 67 battalions.

Recruitment in Central Armed Police Forces

  • The recruitments in CAPF are conducted through the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), as well as Staff Selection Commission (SSC).
  • You can also directly visit the official website of each police force and check the vacancies as per your qualification.
  • UPSC conducts the exam for the post of Assistant Commandants through which officers are recruited in CAPF. The appointed officers are generally referred to as the Directly Appointed Gazetted Officers.
  • SSC conducts a competitive exam through which Sub Inspectors are recruited who are referred to as Directly Appointed Subordinate Officers.
  • Staff Selection Commission holds a separate exam for the post of constables.
  • The CAPF forms (UPSC) are usually available in the month of April and exams are conducted in the month of July or August.

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