Home Minister P. Chidambaram has said 'overdependence' of state governments on central forces was 'not a good sign' and that policing in the country has been 'neglected'. He underlined the need to upgrade and bring 'urgent reforms' in the police system.
'The massive expansion of central paramilitary forces is indicative of inadequacies of state police,' Chidambaram said while speaking at a meeting of the Consultative Committee for the home ministry on the National Police Mission.
He said a large number of vacancies existed in state police at lower as well as higher levels.
According to the home ministry, a majority of the country's police stations that fall in the category of 'rural' stations, are understaffed and under massive strain of having to combat insurgency in addition to their law and order duties.
Out of 14,000 police stations in the country, nearly 8,000 are designated rural stations.
'The police-population ratio in the country is much lower than the desired level of 220 and there is also wide variation among the states,' Chidambaram said, while drawing the attention to other problems like outdated equipment and lack of training.
According to some estimates, police forces in the country are understaffed and for every 100,000 people, there are only 142 policemen to maintain law and order.
'Inadequacies of police in the states and their over-dependence on the central paramilitary forces is not a good sign for the federal structure.'
The home minister said the strength of central paramilitary forces in the country comprised over 800,000 personnel.
The states are now realizing the gravity of the situation and concentrating on recruitment, training and modernization of their police forces, he said.
In a proposal sent to the Finance Commission, Home Secretary G.K. Pillai has said that the money will be needed to recruit 340,000 policemen for rural police stations.
Chidambaram said that the ministry has approved building community counselling centres to facilitate an integrated approach towards resolution of conflicts, affecting women, children and other vulnerable sections of the society.
He said the ministry will also develop soft skill training modules for police personnel for improving their attitude and behavior to make them 'citizen-friendly and service- oriented'.
There would be a 'fair, impartial, transparent, objective, tamper-proof, scientific and merit-based transparent recruitment process, he added.