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Well, that figures

india Updated: Mar 27, 2008 00:24 IST
Hindustan Times
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One effective way of getting others not to notice how vertically challenged you are is to be surrounded by midgets. In a similar strategy, the Indian government has trotted out startling figures about global crime rates. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has ‘compiled’ data that has been published in the Ministry of Home Affairs status paper on Naxal violence across the country. What makes it ‘interesting’ is that the NCRB has pitched it as a ‘global comparison’ — which, if you have an inner babu in you, you’ll recognise as a strategy to present the happier side of the story.

In case your newspaper gives you the impression that crime is rife in this country, ‘Phah!’ says the NCRB, adding that the incidence of crime per 1 lakh people in India is only 455.8 — hardly ‘criminal’, considering the corresponding figure for the US and Britain are 7,797.8 and 9,312.36 respectively. Why, even ‘quieter’ countries like Canada and Sweden have whopping figures of 8,512.60 and 13,753 respectively. So all this badmashi in Bharat has to be exaggerated, right?

Well, not quite. Apart from the fact that Kazakhstan tops the chart as the country with the lowest crime rate (at 96.66 criminal acts committed per 1 lakh Kazakhs), there is the matter of what the NCRB has helpfully kept mum about. India fares quite well in the global stakes because the ‘survey’, with the crimes per lakh model, is loaded in favour of large populations. And that’s not even considering the fact that India’s notoriously low registration of criminal cases could — it just could — account for why there’s not much crime happening here even if it is happening.

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