Last Updated: December 21, 2022, 12:12 PM IST
The home ministry has countered the allegations by several state governments over the lack of funds for police modernisation, cyber infrastructure and security, and instead blamed the states for not utilising the financial aid.
The ministry is not releasing funds as the states have failed to utilise them under various schemes.
Interestingly, according to the MHA data, 233 police stations do not have vehicles, while 911 do not have telephones and 115 have no wireless/mobile phones.
In fact, in the current financial year, none of the states could utilise funds for the ‘Assistance to States for Modernisation of Police’ due to substantial unspent balance. Interestingly, 99% funds under the sub-scheme were spent in the previous three fiscals till 2020.
The objective of the sub-scheme is to assist development of operationally independent high quality forensic science facilities in states for timely investigation through modernisation of machinery and equipment, trained manpower and laboratories.
“As per guidelines for release of funds of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes for release of an instalment to a state, unspent balance out of Central and State shares should not be more than 25% of the current year allocation. None of the States could be released funds during the current financial year as they have substantial unspent balance. Total unspent balance of the States is Rs.742.10 crore as on 16.12.2022,” the MHA said in a reply.
Similarly, the home ministry has also said states are not able to utilise funds for cyber security.
In order to get a scheme that helps states to acquire latest weaponry, training, advanced communication/ forensic equipment, cyber policing equipment, the governments formulate State Action Plans (SAPs) as per their strategic priorities and requirements. The release of this fund has reduced from Rs 768 crore to Rs 150 crore in last five years. Also, the allocation of funds has reduced by 20% for the current financial year.
Moreover, states were unable to spend the Nirbhaya Fund, created for the safety of women. Therefore, the Centre decided to disburse those funds for other activities.
States Blame Tough Rules
Most states and Union Territories have blamed the Centre for rejecting their proposals at early stages only to say that funds cannot be allocated for such activities.
Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and a few North Eastern states are facing similar challenges. “We have been demanding funds under police modernisation for various activities but the budget allocation gets rejected by saying that funds can’t be utilised for (such) activities. We have been asked to revise our proposal. The Central government has given a small ambit of using such funds and making utilisation tougher,” a senior official of Andhra Pradesh told News18.
Another state official from Bihar said the Centre did not even release the funds even after revising the proposals.
Police Stations with No Phones, Vehicles
According to the MHA data, a total of 233 police stations have no vehicles, of which, 75 are in Uttar Pradesh, 65 in Andhra Pradesh and 47 in Jharkhand.
Similarly, 900 police stations are working without telephones, the data revealed. Jharkhand has 211 such police stations while Assam has 141 and J&K has 70.
Also, 115 police stations do not have wireless or mobile phones, with 31 such stations in Jharkhand (the highest) and 28 in Punjab.
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