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Maha budget: State plans image makeover for cops; hi-tech, modernised force

The government has listed initiatives to modernise the police force, setting aside Rs13,385 crore for the police department

mumbai Updated: Mar 10, 2018 14:23 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times
Maharashtra budget,Mumbai,home department
(HT File Photo)

The state government in its budget for 2018-19 has listed several initiatives and schemes to modernise the police force. It also seeks to make police people friendly.

The government has made a provision of Rs115 crore for Visitors Entry Management System (VEMS). It says the system will help bring in transparency, make the police amiable and fix the accountability.

Supervisory officials will get direct access to the information related to grievances and complaints by citizens. By implementing VEMS, the government aims to change the perception about the police. The steps are being taken after a survey found that 57% of citizens avoid visiting police stations to lodge complaints owing to fear of being mistreated.

The government has set aside Rs13,385 crore for the police department against Rs11,999 crore last year. It has also announced that all police stations will have CCTV cameras connected to the district-level control rooms.

State finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, in his budget speech on Friday, said the CCTV network, which is in place in cities such as Mumbai, Nagpur and Pune — will be extended to all districts. The government has made the allocation of Rs166 crore allocated in the budget. “This would help us in speedy and accurate disposal of complaints,” Mungantiwar said.

It also seeks to strengthen crime data integration for seamless coordination among police stations over criminals and their track record.

For this, the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and System (CCTNS) has already been rolled out.

A sum of Rs25 crore has been allocated for the system for better coordination between forensic laboratories and police stations, and speedy investigations.

Minister of state for home Deepak Kesarkar said a major part of the allocation for the home department is for the housing of police personnel and officers. “CCTNS is going to play a major role in crime detection, improvement in conviction rate, while VEMS will bring in more efficiency. It will also help us in reducing the custodial deaths,” he said.

The allocation also includes funds for procurement of two speed boats for patrolling in coastal areas.

“The budgetary allocation for the home department is misleading and the major share of the allocation is expected to be spent on salaries. The finance minister has not given a break-up of provisions for various schemes,” said Jayant Patil, former finance and home minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader.

First Published: Mar 10, 2018 14:22 IST