The Yogi Adityanath government of Uttar Pradesh has announced that urban youths in 10 cities of the state will now also get an opportunity to join the Prantiya Rakshak Dal (PRD), an alternate security force that “works for the preservation of public peace and protection of the life of community and property in the state”. Before the announcement on 26 December, only rural youth could join the PRD. The force that has been in existence for nearly 72 years and until now, was made up of only rural youth.
According to UP government officials, the Prantiya Rakshak Dal was established in 1948 and regularised under the Prantiya Rakshak Dal Act and Rules. As of now, it has 45,000 serving youth who, officials said, work closely with police to sort out issues. “They are just like any other security force. Their duty is equivalent to that of home guards,” Ajat Shatru Shahi, deputy director of PRD, said. “They have a fixed dress code and fixed duty hours. They are hired for a limited time-period. They get Rs 375 a day as payment and have no other allowances.”
According to Shahi, the minimum qualification for the job is high school education but candidates have to clear norms on height and weight. Those between the ages of 18 and 45 are eligible to apply, he added. Uttar Pradesh has a separate Department of Youth Welfare & Prantiya Rakshak Dal (PRD), which oversees the working of the security force. The department is now headed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath but was earlier handled by Chetan Chauhan, the cricketer-turned-politician who passed away in August.