New Delhi,Manan Kumar(dna): The effect of Modi government's move to withdraw police modernisation fund from the Central budget and place it in the increased central pool for states' share has been felt not by the state governments but also by the department related parliamentary standing committee on home affairs.
The government's move came under strong criticism when the committee in its meeting on Thursday discussed modernisation of police forces.
What is police modernisation scheme?
Started in 1969-70, it is counted as one of the most important schemes of the union home ministry that looks after the internal security of the country. Though police modernisation was started as a temporary scheme with the main objective to meet identified deficiencies in various aspects of police administration of states and reduce the dependence of state governments on the Army and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to control internal security and law and order situation, it became a permanent fixture as with increasing internal strife due to riots and violent agitations and terrorist attacks, the challenges for the state police forces have increased steadily.
What led the BJP government to withdraw police modernization from the annual budget this year?
After accepting the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission for increasing share of states in central taxes to 42% from 32%, the current government slashed several central schemes to states on the plea that with increased share and power the states should take over the burden of such schemes from the Centre.
Earlier the Central allocation for the two components of the scheme -- plan and non plan -- has been around Rs 1,200-1,500 crore per year. But this time the Union home ministry has asked the states to submit proposal only for non-plan component that is expected to be around Rs 595 crore only. This despite the fact that in its maiden budget last year, the BJP government increased the allocation for police modernisation to a whopping Rs 3,000 crore.
What's the view of standing committee?
Majority of the members of the committee in its meeting held on Thursday criticised government's move to put the onus of police modernisation on the States. Sources privy to the meeting said majority of members were against government's move as they thought that it will adversely affect the capability of state police forces.
Chairman of the standing committee P Bhattacharya, Congress MP from Rajya Sabha, is understood to have reacted strongly and said that "soon the state police forces will only be good enough to kill birds and not terrorists."
"By taking this step does the Central government wants to sit idle and eat chocolate and leave the states to fend for themselves and fight terrorists," Bhattacharya said in the meeting, sources said.
The committee is soon expected to place its recommendation before Parliament asking the Central government to revert to status quo by taking back the onus of police modernisation.
The committee, comprising 10 members from Rajya Sabha and 21 from Lok Sabha, raised the question that how can state governments put the money in schemes like MNREGA, PM Rural Road, Indira Awaas and at the same time modernise police forces to fight terrorists and lawless elements when the actual increase in their pool is very small and in many cases even works out to be less.