The fitness rule has existed for decades for officers of the central armed forces such as the Border Security Force (BSF) that guards the borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh, and the centre's lead anti-insurgency force, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
But officers from the coveted Indian Police Service, the only ones entitled to head police forces in the states and the centre, had been left out because they were governed by a separate set of rules.
The Home Ministry recently decided to fix this gap, and told the department of personnel that reports to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend the fitness-must rule to the IPS as well.
A letter has been sent to state governments to seek their views on the proposed change, according to news agency Press Trust of India. The Home Ministry had reasoned that senior police officers needed to lead from the front and set an example for those under their command to take physical fitness seriously.
'SHAPE 1' is the highest level of fitness in terms of psychological health, hearing, appendages, physical capacity and eyesight and implies that they can be posted for any duty.
Once the proposed rules come into effect, the extra fat may not be the only thing that holds back senior police officers. Citing instances in the paramilitary forces, a CRPF official said their officers had lost out on promotions for problems such as severe cases of hypertension also.
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