The number of women among revenue officials who police more than 60% of Uttarakhand geographically is 20 — a figure that jars against state’s plan to recruit 1,000 women constables and 150 women sub-inspectors into regular police that watch over the rest of the area.
Uttarakhand is the only state where a patwari-based policing system — civil officials double act as revenue officers and police in the far-flung areas — exist. It was introduced by the British in 1861 to cut down on policing expenses.
An association of revenue officials, Parvatiya Patwari Mahasangh, said just 3% of the entire patwari force of 730 officials were women.
Though some cases on crime against women are transferred to regular police, chairperson of Uttarakhand state commission for women Sarojini Kaintyura said it was important that women had greater representation in the revenue police force given the rising crimes against women.
“Since the areas covered by revenue police are usually remote, they are the first ones to arrive at the crime scene. Adequate presence of women (in revenue police) will make (women) victims of crime more comfortable in recording statements and conducting medical tests,” she said.
Dhirendra Singh Kumaain, the former president of Parvatiya Patwari Mahasangh, said a 2006 government order earmarked a ‘horizontal’ or special reservation for women equivalent to at least 30% of the total vacancies.
“However, only around 20 women were inducted after that and since then there has been no recruitment,” he said.
The revenue police, the go-to guy for one-third of the state’s population, have spread themselves thin with 45% of the sanctioned posts (1,216) lying vacant.
Revenue minister Yashpal Arya said the process of recruiting revenue officers was on.
“We hope that we will complete the district-wise examination for the posts and very soon we should be able to rope in a good number of women employees,” Arya told HT.
Revenue force in Uttarakhand
1,216 Sanctioned posts of patwaris
730 Present strength
20 No. of women patwari
(Source: Parvatiya Patwari Mahasangh)