February 16, 2022 - 6:09 am

Centre Approves Rs 26,275 Cr For Continuation Of Scheme For MPF

As part of the central government’s plan to continue modernization of police forces, the Centre has decided to continue the umbrella scheme of Modernisation of Police Forces (MPF) of states and the union territories for the period 2021-22 to 2025-26 with a total central financial outlay of Rs 26,275 crore in the Union Budget 2022-23 for strengthening internal security, law and order machinery, adoption of modern technology, and setting up of a ‘robust forensic set-up’ to improve criminal justice system among other things in the country. The MPF scheme comprises all relevant sub-schemes that contribute to modernization and improvement of police forces in the country.

Under the modernization scheme provision has been made for internal security, law, and order, adoption of modern technology by Police, assisting States for narcotics control, and strengthening the criminal justice system by developing a robust forensic set-up in the country. The Scheme for modernization of State police forces has a Central outlay of Rs 4,846 crore. To develop operationally independent high-quality forensic sciences facilities in States and Union Territories for aiding scientific and timely investigation through modernization of resources, a central scheme for Modernisation of Forensic capacities with an outlay of Rs 2,080.50 crore has been approved.

The central outlay of Rs 18,839 crore has been earmarked for security-related expenditure for the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir, insurgency affected North Eastern States and Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas. With the implementation of the ‘National Policy and Action Plan’ for combating LWE, the LWE violence incidents have come down drastically.  To further pursue this accomplishment, six LWE related schemes with Central outlay of Rs 8,689 crore have been approved. These schemes include Special Central Assistance (SCA) to Most LWE Affected Districts and Districts of Concern to consolidate the gains. For raising of India Reserve Battalions and Specialised India Reserve Battalions, Central outlay of Rs 350 crore has been approved. The central sector scheme of ‘Assistance to States and Union Territories for narcotics control with an outlay of Rs 50 crore has also been continued, according to the ministry note.

The MPF scheme was initiated in 1969-70 and has undergone several revisions over the years.  It was allocated Rs 11,946 crore for the period between 2012-13 to 2016-17, which has now been doubled after last week’s Cabinet approval. Funds from the MPF scheme are typically used for improving police infrastructure through construction of police stations and provision of modern weaponry, surveillance and communication equipment.  Upgradation of training infrastructure, police housing and computerisation are also important objectives funded through the scheme. Following the recommendations of the Fourteenth Finance Commission, to increase the share of central taxes to states, it was decided that the MPF scheme would be delinked from central funding from 2015-16 onwards. States were expected to finance the scheme using their own resources.  However, of the recent allocation made by the Cabinet, Rs 18,636 crore will come from the central government and Rs 6,424 crore will come from the states. This implies that the centre will fund almost 75% of the scheme.

While the MPF scheme seeks to improve police infrastructure, there are a number of structural issues that have been raised by experts over the years related to police forces i.e. police personnel may be overburdened, which may have negative consequences on their efficiency and performance; one of the reasons of  low conviction rates in India is poor quality of investigation by police; to allow the police operational autonomy while maintaining accountability. Guidelines and recommendations of other expert bodies were used to create the draft Model Police Bill, 2015 by BPR&D, which states have been encouraged to adopt.  While states have partially implemented some of these guidelines, no state has adhered to them in full. In most states, the three institutions which the Supreme Court has directed states to create have not been given the authority they need to ensure accountability and insulate the police force from political misuse.