India has an annual police modernisation fund of Rs 1,000 crore but most of the money goes into constructing buildings and vehicles.
An evaluation study of the police modernisation scheme run by the central government has revealed that states were spending more than 70 per cent of the money on police building activities and police housing. Anything between 1 to 6 per cent of the money under this scheme is spent on police training; 2-13 per cent on buying new weapons for the police to fight criminals and terrorists.
The study, conducted by the Bureau of Police Research and Development, was completed last year.
A parliamentary standing committee that examined central efforts at helping state police modernise itself says the spending pattern of the states had “defeated the very purpose of the scheme”. The panel has asked the home ministry to review the scheme, arguing that it should focus on providing the policemen modern gadgets, improving technology and providing IT facilities.
Under this scheme, the home ministry provides 100 per cent funds for police modernisation to northeastern states and Jammu and Kashmir. The remaining 20 states receive 75 per cent of the money from the home ministry; state governments have to chip in the other 25 per cent.
The home ministry will have to take a view on the parliamentary panel’s recommendation and report back to Parliament with its action-taken report.
A home ministry official suggested he was tempted to agree with the panel’s view in principle if it were not for the ground realities. The ministry had to liberalise rules for spending the funds due to ground realities.
“It would not have made sense to insist that states spend better weapons if there are police stations operating out of temporary structures. Where do they keep those weapons? Or the computers,” the official said.