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An Analysis of the Schemes of Modernization of Police Forces with special reference to MPF

The concept of modernization of police is not something which is just a phase or which could be achieved in a limited time frame, rather it is an ever evolving process, more in a country like India, where the population is huge & so diverse and the laws are so stringent and sometimes even more confusing, making the procedural activities immensely complicated and lengthy at times.

Thus in turn it results in faults on the part of the police administration many a times, which may range from paperwork errors to technological shortcomings, to shortage of resources, and much more. Revolutionizing and Evolving the Modernization of Police thus is and should be the prime objective of the Authorities and Law Makers.

Introduction:
The term POLICE however has not been defined clearly in any of the laws or statutes currently applicable in India, stands for 'Public Officer for Legal Investigations & Criminal Emergencies'[1], which by its name connotes the type of work area they'd be operating in, which is to maintain public peace and order without any failure.

As per the Black's Law Dictionary, the term Police is "the governmental department charged with the perversions of the public order, the promotion of the public safety, the perversions & detection of crime and the officers or members of the department."[2]

Police is an institution which should be easily accessible and approachable to all the classes and strata of the social structure we are all a part of. The role of Police is at a time supposed to very simple but at the same time is supposed to be very difficult or rather complicated as well, which in turn leads to the vesting of huge amount of responsibilities and powers in the hands of the police which in turn require even large amount of resources (both, human as well as technological) in order to justify the work of public service they have been assigned to.

As established, Police falls under the domain of the State as per entry 2 of List II of the VIIth Schedule in the Constitution of India, thus the principal responsibility of managing Police as a subject lies with the State Government, so the load or duty or responsibility of modernizing the Police also falls on the head of the State.

However, the states have been somewhat in a fix when it comes down to do the work in revolutionizing the Police and modernize and equip the forces up to the desired level, because of many reasons out of which the most prominent is said to be financial constraints.

In order to rescue the states from such situations the Central Government in coordination with the Ministry of Home Affairs has been working on several levels in order to supplement the resources and efforts of the states from time to time by implementing schemes such as Modernization of State Police Forces (MPF) Schemes, since 1969.

History of Schemes relating to the Modernization of Police:
While the police reforms were introduced way back in 1902-03 by the British Government in the pre-independence era, the schemes relating to modernization of police have been in regular practice since 1969-1970, but even then the lack of awareness and having tight hands when it came down to finances are some of the major reasons as to why the majority of funds allocated for the purpose of modernization goes in managing salaries or pensions, as this was the scene for a very long time.

The National Police Commission was set up in 1977, which was the first national level committee that was set up by the Indian Government with the purpose of regular reporting on policing. This committee went on to put forward eight reports between 1979 and 1981, and in these reports were suggestions for the then existing police administration setup.

Further in the landmark judgment in the case of Prakash Singh[3], Supreme Court in 2006 directed all the States and Union Territories to introduce police reforms, and asked them to comply with the seven binding directives which would kick-start the reforms. In 2006, a committee named as Justice Thomas Committee was constituted to review the 7 directives which were laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Prakash Singh.

In 2012-2013 Justice J.S. Verma committee was constituted to recommend amendments to the criminal law so as to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminally accused of committing sexual assault against women, after Nirbhaya Scandal. This committee has recommended certain steps to reform the police, which include the establishment of the State Security Commission to ensure that the state government does not influence the state police, which should be headed by the Chief Minister or Home Minister and also stated the seven directives of the Supreme Court.

Issues with the Police Administration System in India:
Although the Indian Police System has been working nonchalantly and without any major dysfunction for decades now, that too without any major amendments or changes, it can not be denied that the same suffers from various discrepancies or flaws on multiple levels, such as:
  • Colonial Laws:
    The Indian Police System till date has been working on the same laws which were made and developed in the British Raj, the laws which were framed in accordance to suppress the voice of the common people, and as a result the citizens of India still sometimes have to go through the same fate.
     
  • Custodial Deaths:
    The number of cases of custodial deaths or power abuse by police have been humongous in India, and we literally did see many such examples of the same in recent Covid Pandemic times too, even when a guideline for the same had been laid down by the Supreme Court in the D.K. Basu Judgment.
     
  • Police Infrastructure:
    As it is the funds allotted for the rejuvenation of the infra of the police department is low, even then it goes underutilized. As a result even strong high tech communication systems have not yet been installed in many places, let alone be modern weaponry or advanced terrain based vehicles. This results in no training or knowledge of the modern technologies by the personnel.
     
  • Law on Torture:
    India as for now has only signed the "United Nation Convention on Torture", which is yet to be passed by the parliament, and as such India lacks a concrete law on the front of torture by Police Personnel.
     
  • Political Interference:
    The officials who sit at higher posts are themselves not safe as they have no prescribed minimum tenure and neither do have a say in the place of posting thus forcing them to be a puppet in the hands of the politicians.
     
  • Working Conditions:
    It is only recently that the government has been focusing strictly on the training of the personnel as a whole on both levels i.e. state as well as central. Meanwhile, still it has been observed that there are many who do not hold the threshold standard especially the lower level officials, as a result they are often abused verbally and many a times physically and are forced to work in inhuman conditions, leading to a toxic relationship in the department itself.

Present Schemes run by the government on Central and State level:
MPF or The Modernization of State Police Forces Scheme is an Umbrella scheme of the central government in consonance with the states of the Republic of India, whereby funds are allocated to the state funds in order to revamp the structure and functioning of the police forces of states and union territories.

"An allocation under this scheme is kept aside for providing items in kind for modernization of police forces of the State Government. Presently, major supply of items come from Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and weaponry is provided as assistance in kind. Allocations and funds released to the States under the erstwhile scheme of Modernization of State Police Forces during the period from 2012-13 to 2016- 17 was that of 5517.33crore rupees and 4743.47crore rupees respectively"[4].

"Similarly, the government has extended the scheme for five more years from 2021-22 to 2025-26 with a total investment of fund allocation of 26,275crore rupees, which is to be spent mainly on police modernization. The scheme will include security related expenditure in Jammu & Kashmir, Maoist affected areas, for raising new battalions accounting for a total of 18,839crore rupees while 4,846crore rupee will be allocated for modernization of state police forces & 2,081crore rupee is to allocated for the developing high-tech forensic laboratories and other investigation tools.

To further pursue this accomplishment, six LWE-related schemes with a central outlay of Rs 8,689 crore have been approved. These schemes include Special Central Assistance (SCA) to most LWE-affected districts and districts of concern to consolidate the gains, it said. For the purpose of raising of the India Reserve Battalions or Specialized India Reserve Battalions, a central outlay of 350crore rupee has been approved, while 50crore rupees are to be allocated to the central scheme of assistance to States and Union Territories for Narcotics Control."[5]

The objective of this scheme is to gradually reduce the dependence of the State Governments on the Army and the Central Armed Police Forces to control internal security and law and order situations by equipping the State Police Forces adequately and strengthening their training infrastructure.

Funding Mechanism: The funds under the scheme are sanctioned to the states by the High Powered Committee (HPC) chaired by Additional Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, as per annual plans received from the states. The states have an Empowered Committee chaired by the Chief Secretary, which receives the funds, which are subsequently transferred to the Home department, and finally to the Director General of Police. The Central Government provides funding to State Governments under various components of the scheme.

The components have been listed below:
  • Infrastructure Development of Police Directorate:
    States are provided assistance for the development of fixed assets like office buildings, housing, procurement of vehicles, weaponry, equipment for forensic science laboratories, etc.
     
  • Mega City Policing:
    This component was introduced from 2006-07 and covers seven cities- Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad. Based on the state plans, funds are given to mega cities for procurement of modern and innovative equipment like portable X-ray machine, vehicle scanner, integrated GIS based automated vehicle tracking, etc.
     
  • Desert Policing:
    This component was introduced from 2005-06 and covers the States of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Funds are available under the scheme for problems in investigation, mobility, communication and requirement of special equipments, with respect to desert areas.
     
  • Naxal Affected Districts:
    An amount of Rs 2 crore per district per annum is given to naxal affected districts under the scheme. This amount has to be used for construction of new police stations, police outposts, and fortification of police stations/outposts.
     
  • Indo Nepal/Bhutan Border Districts:
    The scheme provides for an allocation of Rs 1 crore per border district per annum along Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders. There are 30 districts in 7 states on the two borders. This component is to be used for strengthening police stations/outposts.
     
  • Special Branches:
    5% of the total scheme allocation to a state is earmarked towards strengthening of the special branches/intelligence set up in the states. This would involve modern equipments, GIS mapping, intelligence training schools, bomb detection and disposal equipment, thermal imagers, etc."[6]
     
Recommendations and Conclusions:
Data from the 'Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D)' shows that funds have not been fully utilized under the MPF scheme. In the year 2015-16, out of a total grant of 9,203crore rupees which was made available for modernization, states utilized mere 1330crore rupees which is only 14% of the allocated funds[7]. This shows a very grave concern of not utilizing the funds which would surely get in the modernization of the police administration, especially of those in the rural areas.

It is to be determined that uncertainty of Government at state or even at central level must not hinder the work which is going on in the field of modernization of police and that the police administration should not be made a victim of dirty power hungry politics.

End-Notes:
  1. [Solved] What Is the Full Form of Police? (Testbook) accessed 30 April 2022.
  2. What Is POLICE? Definition of POLICE (Black's Law Dictionary) (The Law Dictionary, 4 November 2011) accessed 30 April 2022.
  3. Prakash Singh Badal & Anr. V. State of Punjab & Ors. Appea(Civil)5636 of 2006.
  4. Modernisation of State Police Forces (MPF) Scheme | Ministry of Home Affairs | GoI accessed 30 April 2022.
  5. Modernisation of State Police Forces (MPF) Scheme | Ministry of Home Affairs | GoI accessed 30 April 2022.
  6. Global Report on Trafficking in Persons (United Nations : Office on Drugs and Crime) accessed 14 April 2022.
  7. Data on Police Organisations, Bureau of Police Research and Development, 2016, http://bprd.nic.in/WriteReadData/userfiles/file/201701090303068737739DATABOOK2016FINALSMALL09-01-2017.pdf.

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