BSF's Strength Extended
The government extended the jurisdictions of the Border Security Force (BSF) from 15 km to 50 km inside the international borders in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam and reduce BSF's area of operation in Gujarat from 80km from the border, 50km. As per the modified notification, BSF personnel will be able to conduct arrests and searches in West Bengal, Punjab and Assam under the code of criminal procedure (CrPC), the passport act and the passport(entry to India) act 1920. The change also allows an officer of the rank corresponding to that of the lowest ranking members of the BSF, under the CrPC, to exercise and discharge the powers and duties without an order from a magistrate and without a warrant.
The new notifications brings sharp criticism from opposition parties claiming it against the nature of federalism but the success claims that the objective of the move is to bring uniformity and also to increase operational efficiency. Also, the moon was even necessitated due to increasing instances of drones dropping weapons and drugs in J&K and Punjab. However, there has been no official explanation for why BSF's jurisdiction has not been increased under the Arms Act, Customs Act and NDPS Act, which cover most of the smuggling offences. Many believe that the notification will bring spat between the state police and the BSF. However, the BSF finds it much helpful in cross-border smuggling.
In view of cross-border situation, this seems to be a welcome step in the extensions of BSF's operation jurisdictions. If Punjab has a problem of drugs and arms smuggling, Assam and West Bengal pose new challenges in the form of cattle and fake currency smuggling. There borders are also prone to illegal migration. Earlier their inability to take action because of their hands were tied beyond15km despite getting inputs spouse illegal activity deep in the Hinterland. In coordination with the state police, this move will serve as a strong deterrent for defeating cross-border smuggling and illegal infiltrations. In fact, it will strengthen national security and national interest.