File photo of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath addressing a rally | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
File photo of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath addressing a rally | Praveen Jain | ThePrint

Lucknow: 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. ThePrint explains the force that has been in existence for nearly 72 years and until now, was made up of only rural youth. 

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Security force that works on police directions

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, told the Print. “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.  

“We recently celebrated our Foundation Day (11 December). This was the first time we did a grand event in which we have also awarded two PRD workers for their efforts during the Covid phase,” another official in the PRD department said.

“During the Covid phase, PRD workers did a great job in village areas. They not only did security work but also participated in several awareness campaigns of the government.”

Also read: ‘No new order’ to seize vehicles with stickers declaring caste — UP govt denies viral claim

New companies, employment for urban youth, women

According to PRD department officials, this is the first time the force will see recruitment from urban areas. In the first phase, 10 companies are to be raised in 10 cities — Lucknow, Kanpur,  Agra, Aligarh, Varanasi, Prayagraj, Bareilly, Kanpur Gorakhpur and Moradabad.

In all, 1,050 youths will be recruited — 105 for each company. According to the chief minister’s announcement, each company will mandatorily employ 11 women. 

Dimple Varma, additional chief secretary and director general of the Youth Welfare and PRD department, said in a statement that the enrollment has already begun for the urban companies.

“Till date, we have selected and enrolled 20 youths in each company. This will increase in the future,” she said. “After selection, the youths will be given 22-day training. Besides this, 15-day refresher training is also given to them from time to time with their duties. At present, there are about 45,000 youths enrolled in the PRD in the state.”

Also read: ‘We step in when our women step out with Muslim men’ — how UP law empowers Hindu bully groups


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