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Modernisation interrupted

by IT Web Admin
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The state government, like any other in the country, took the news of the decision of the Modi- led NDA government to cut down funding for the “Modernisation of State Police Forces” (MPF) scheme as a blow below the belt, with the Deputy Chief Minister, also in charge of Home admittedly expressing disappointment and concern over the unexpected decision at the centre, as the state government is in the process of completing various activities under the scheme in the state. Interestingly, the disappointing decision comes just a few months after home minister Rajnath Singh promised to double money for modernisation of police forces. The home ministry this week told state governments that the finance ministry was expected to allocate Rs 595 crore for the scheme and asked states to only submit their proposals for the non-plan component which includes money spent on vehicles, weaponry and equipment for training, forensic and policing while Plan expenditure, on the other hand, covers construction of police stations, houses, laboratories and training infrastructure.But this is not the first time that the government hasn’t delivered on its promise of a bigger pie for the state police forces. In its first budget presented in July last year too, the Modi government elicited loud cheers and appreciation when it proposed to raise Central funding for the modernisation scheme to Rs 3,000 crore. However, it could not keep its promise, prompting the home ministry to advice states in December-end not to expect the promised windfall.The ‘Modernization of State Police Forces’ scheme was started by the central government in 2000-01. One of the objectives was to help police forces in meeting the emerging challenges to internal security in the form of terrorism, naxalism etc. The scheme aims to modernize police forces in terms of: mobility (including purchase of bullet proof and mine proof vehicles), weaponry, communication systems, training, forensic science laboratory/ finger printing bureau, equipments and buildings.Under this scheme, States have been clubbed into different categories and Centre-State cost sharing is category specific. Since 2005-06, States have been categorized as category ‘A’ and ‘B’ with 100% and 75% central funding respectively. All the North Eastern States, namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim have been placed in category ‘A’ and thus, are entitled to receive 100% Central assistance for implementation of their annual approved plans.The abrupt and undesireable U-turn of the central government is a huge setback for most of the states which are experiencing increased disruptions and challenges to the law and order situation. It would be a wise move to continue/extend the modernization scheme for some more years, or to announce a definite timeframe for the states to enable their ongoing development activities to be completed. Those at the helm in the states also should strive to make the best of such opportunities in the interest of their state and not drain resources for their personal benefits. All good things eventually come to an end. A judicious and timely execution of plans makes all the difference. The state government can still make the police force more effective with better training and motivation. Keeping the public on their side will prove far more useful and productive than upgrading to more sophisticated weapons and gadgets.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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