Miscellaneous

The India Leadership Workshop: An initiative by PRS Legislative Research and Indian School of Business

Parliament passes an average of 60 Bills a year.  Each state legislature also passes a similar volume of legislation addressing an array of complex issues.  Bills cover subjects ranging from microfinance, land acquisition, and honour killings to the impact of pesticides on health.  Legislative matters have become increasingly more technical and require specialist inputs to be framed as effective public policy. Unlike other large democracies, legislators in India do not have access to institutional research support.  Access to formal information channels is normally available only to the Minister drafting the bill or to the select committee if the bill is referred to it. This deprives MLAs from participating in a more informed debate. Towards this end, PRS and the Indian School of Business (ISB) have initiated the first policy workshop of its kind for MLAs in India.  There is an emerging breed of proactive MLAs who are willing to seek out information to help them perform their role better. There are over 4000 MLAs in India, and a small group of MLAs in many states are showing this initiative.  They use the internet, consult specialists, and use resources like PRS to get updated or further information on issues affecting their state. About the Workshop The India Leadership workshop is for MLAs who want to be more effective legislators and assume positions of greater influence in state and national policymaking. This unique workshop is for rising stars who want to imbibe new approaches to policymaking and build professional networks with MLAs from different states.  The programme is led by distinguished faculty from internally reputed institutions including Harvard, IITs and IIMs. The three day workshop for progressive MLAs will be held at the campus of ISB in Hyderabad. Four such sessions will be held during the year, with the maiden edition being launched in January 2011.  Over the last five years, PRS has worked with MPs across all political parties to brief them on relevant issues for their work in Parliament.  MPs have recommended that MLAs also would benefit from similar research services. Ajit Rangnekar, Dean, Indian School of Business (ISB) says, “The ISB is committed to working with the Industry and the Government to help achieve national goals. We already have had a long track of engaging with public sector enterprises, and more recently with various government departments, in both executive education and research. We are now delighted to partner with the PRS Legislative Research to develop this programme targeted at capacity building among Indian Legislators. We believe that this ongoing interaction between the government and academia will strengthen our collective understanding of national priorities and spur collaboration for greater impact.”

CWG Investigations: What is being done?

The 2010 Commonwealth Games may have ended on October 14th, but the controversy surrounding the organising of the games is far from over. In Parliament, the Opposition has called for a Joint-Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to be formed to investigate suspected financial irregularities in the organising of the Games[1]. In a statement in Parliament on Tuesday, Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports M.S. Gill commented that “All irregularities will be examined and the guilty will not be spared”[2]. In July 2010, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) found irregularities in 14 Games related construction projects[3]. It has been reported that officials from the CVC now believe total misappropriation of Games Funds could be between Rs 5000 crore and Rs 8000 crore [4]. So what is being done about it? Currently, six different government organisations are conducting independent inquiries into financial irregularities, corruption, and mismanagement of the Games: the High Level (Shunglu) Commission, CVC, CAG, CBI, Income Tax Department, and Enforcement Directorate (ED).  With so many government organisations involved, it can be difficult to decipher the big picture. Here is a breakdown of what each organisation is doing: High Level Commission (Shunglu Commission): The Commission was appointed by the Prime Minister on October 15th[5]. It is chaired by V.K. Shunglu, former Comptroller and Auditor General of India, who has been given the status equivalent to a Supreme Court Judge[6]. The Commission has a broad mandate to investigate all matters regarding the Games, specifically:[7]

  • Roles and responsibilities of signatories to Host City Contract
  • Planning and execution of development projects and contracts
  • Effectiveness of organisational structure and governance for agencies involved
  • Managerial weaknesses
  • All financial aspects of the event, including wrongdoing
  • Coordination issues amongst agencies
  • Role of advisors and consultants to Organising Committee
  • Overall impact of the games
  • Lessons learnt for the future

A report from the Commission detailing its findings is expected by mid January. Central Vigilance Commission (CVC): The CVC first found financial irregularities in 14 Games projects in July 2010.  Subsequently, it asked the CBI to register a corruption case against MCD officials in connection with a tender issued for a Games project[8]. In total, the CVC has found irregularities in 38 games related projects, under the following departments and agencies:[9]

  • Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports: 6
  • Delhi Development Authority: 6
  • Public Works Department: 6
  • Municipal Corporation of Delhi: 5
  • Central Public Works Department: 4
  • Organising Committee: 3
  • New Delhi Municipal Council: 3
  • Government of Delhi: 2
  • Department of Commerce: 1
  • Indian Meteorological Department: 1
  • RITES: 1

The CVC has directed the above agencies to respond to queries regarding the irregularities and has directed the CBI to begin a Preliminary Inquiry into them [10]. The CVC will report its findings to the Shunglu Commission. Income Tax Department: The I-T Department is investigating tenders and awards of contracts for Games related works, as well as tax evasion [11]. It has conducted raids in offices of over 30 business firms and individuals [12]. Enforcement Directorate (ED): The ED is proceeding against Organising Committee officials for violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) for projects involving venue development and overlays contracts awarded by the Organising Committee. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI): It has been reported that the CBI had received over 300 complaints of corruption in Games projects by August 2010[13]. It is verifying these claims and investigating matters highlighted by the CVC. Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG): In August 2009, the CAG published a report entitled Preparedness for the XIX Commonwealth Games highlighting the lack of preparedness for the Games and its escalating cost.  The CAG is conducting a detailed audit of the Games that is expected to be published in March 2011[14]. Given that CAG reports are tabled in Parliament, the March 2011 report will be critical to the Parliamentary debate on the Games. Two members of the Organising Committee, the Joint Director and the Deputy Director General, were arrested by the CBI this past Monday.  However, Given that the report of the Shunglu Commssion is due in January 2011, the CAG audit will follow two months later, and the current Opposition demand for a JPC remains unresolved, it may be some time before significant details are made public.


[1] http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/BJP-to-press-fo... [2] http://www.thehindu.com/news/article890174.ece [3] ttp://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/et-cetera/CVC-finds-irregularities-in-several-CWG-projects/articleshow/6229429.cms [4] http://www.deccanherald.com/content/105830/cwg-fraud-may-touch-rs.html [5] http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/games-over-pm-orders-probe-i... [6] http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/CWG-probe-Shung... [7] http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=66561 [8] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/CWG-construction-CVC-asks-... [9] http://www.hindustantimes.com/specials/sports/cwg-2010/22-more-CWG-works... [10] http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Claiming-fraud---favour-in-Games-renta... [11]http://www.indianexpress.com/news/it-dept-collects-cwg-works-related-doc... [12] http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article837892.ece [13] http://www.indianexpress.com/news/cbi-has-over-300-complaints-regarding-... [14] http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/CAG-starts-Comm...

PRS ANALYSIS 2010: Competition on Legislative Analysis

To facilitate greater awareness generation and engagement of the youth, PRS conceptualised a legislative analysis competition - ANALYSIS. Being organized for the fourth year in succession, ANALYSIS is a national-level competition that encourages students to reflect on issues of national importance by analysing a proposed government Bill.  Participants are expected to produce a succinct three-page analysis of the Bill with MPs as the target audience. Entries will be evaluated by an eminent panel of judges from the fields of politics, law and the media. In the past years judges have included Justice Ruma Pal (former judge at the Supreme Court), Justice Y. K. Sabharwal (former Chief Justice of India), Prof.  N.R. Madhava Menon (Member – Commission on Centre State Relations), and Mr. Sam Pitroda (Advisor to Prime Minister on Public Information, Infrastructure and Innovation). The Competition is open to all post-graduate students or law students presently studying in any recognized institution in India.  (For further information on the Bills to be analysed, prize money and other details, click here) Over the past three years we have received high-quality entries from over a 100 colleges throughout the country.  We hope to receive incisive analyses this years as well.

Honour Killings: Are we prepared to tackle the problem?

The issue of honour killing grabbed headlines with the death of Nirupama Pathak, a Delhi-based journalist, who was alleged to have been killed by her family because she was pregnant and was planning to marry a person outside her caste.  This was followed by two more cases of suspected honour killing (see here and here) in the capital. While incidences of honour killing are a rarity in the capital, such incidences are common in the northern states of India such as Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.  The basic reason behind honour killings is the idea that a family’s honour is tied to a woman’s chastity.  Thus, a wide range of causes can trigger honour killing such as marital infidelity, pre-marital sex, having unapproved relationships, refusing an arranged marriage or even rape. In India, honour killings take place if a couple marries outside their caste or religionKhap panchayats also oppose and mete out punishments to couples who marry within the same gotra (lineage) or transgress other societal norms.  A recent judgement by a sessions court in Karnal for the first time awarded the death penalty to five men for murdering a young couple who had married against the diktats of a khap panchayat.  It gave life sentence to a member of the khap panchayat who declared the marriage invalid and was present when the killing took place. On June 22, the Supreme Court issued a notice to the centre and eight states to explain the steps taken to prevent honour killing.  Taking a cautious approach the government rejected Law Minister, M. Veerappa Moily’s proposal to amend the Indian Penal Code and rein in the khap panchayats (caste based extra constitutional bodies).  It however decided to constitute a Group of Ministers to consult the states and look into the scope for enacting a special law that would treat honour killing as a social evil. Experts are divided over the proposed honour killing law.  Some experts argue that the existing laws are sufficient to deter honour killing, if implemented properly while others feel that more stringent and specific provisions are required to tackle the menace of honour killings.

Existing Penalties under Indian Penal Code:
  • Sections 299-304: Penalises any person guilty of murder and culpable homicide not amounting to murder.  The punishment for murder is life sentence or death and fine.  The punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder is life imprisonment or imprisonment for upto 10 years and fine.
  • Section 307: Penalises attempt to murder with imprisonment for upto 10 years and a fine.  If a person is hurt, the penalty can extend to life imprisonment.
  • Section 308: Penalises attempt to commit culpable homicide by imprisonment for upto 3 years or with fine or with both.  If it causes hurt, the person shall be imprisoned for upto 7 years or fined or both.
  • Section 120A and B: Penalises any person who is a party to a criminal conspiracy.
  • Sections 107-116: Penalises persons for abetment of offences including murder and culpable homicide.
  • Section 34 and 35: Penalises criminal acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention.
Arguments favouring new law Arguments against new law
  • Making the crime of honour killing a separate offence would help bring more clarity for law enforcement agencies.
  • One of the proposals is to amend the Indian Evidence Act to put the burden of proof on the accused.  Thus, the khap panchayat or the family members would be responsible for proving their innocence.
  • There would be joint liability under the proposed new law.  The khap panchayat (or any group ordering honour killings) and the person who carries out the killing would be jointly liable for punishment.
  • The existing penalty for the offence of murder is sufficient if they are implemented strictly and effectively.
  • A new set of laws would not deter honour killings because the basic issue is social sanction for acts committed to curtail same gotra marriage, inter-caste marriage, inter-religion marriage.
  • Need for creating awareness among traditional communities through education.
  • Holding khap panchayats  collectively accountable can be detrimental to members who do not support such killing.  Also, it could be misused for vindictive agendas.
Sources: “Define honour killing as ‘heinous crime’: Experts”, Hindustan Times, May 12, 2010; “Legal experts divided over proposed honour killing law,” Indian Express, Feb 16, 2010; “Legal Tangle,” Indian Express, July 10, 2010; and “Honour Killing: Govt defers decision on Khap Bill,” Indian Express, July 8, 2010; “Honour Killing: Govt considers special law,” Indian Express, July 9, 2010.

Meanwhile, khap panchayats are up in arms defending their stance against same gotra marriage.  They have demanded an amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 disallowing same gotra marriage.  While condemning honour killings, some politicians such as Naveen Jindal and Bhupinder Singh Hooda have extended support to the demands of the khap panchayats. It remains to be seen if India is effectively able to address this tug of war between tradition and modernity.

Petroleum pricing reform

Petroleum Secretary S Sundareshan, while addressing a press Conference on Friday, announced the government’s decision to deregulate prices of petrol. Petrol prices shall now be subject to periodic revisions based on fluctuations in market prices. An immediate hike of Rs. 3.50 per litre has already been affected. Prices of diesel shall be deregulated in stages while those of kerosene and LPG shall continue to be regulated by the government. For the moment, diesel has been hiked by Rs. 2 per litre, kerosene by Rs. 3 per litre and LPG by Rs. 35 per cylinder. Crude to retail: Pricing and under-recoveries India imports about 80% of its crude oil requirement.  Therefore, the cost of petroleum products in India is linked to international prices. The Indian barrel of crude cost $78 in March 2010. Once crude is refined, it is ready for retail. This retail product, is then taxed by the government (both Centre and State) before it is sold to consumers. Taxes are levied primarily for two reasons: to discourage consumption and as a source of revenue. Taxes in India are in line with several developed nations, with the notable exception of the US (See Note 1) Before the current hike, taxes and duties in Delhi accounted for around 48% of the retail price of petrol and 24% of the retail price of diesel. (Click Here for details) Ideally, the retail prices of petroleum products should then be determined as: Retail prices = Cost of production + taxes + profit margins However, in practice, the government indicates the price at which PSU oil companies sell petroleum products. Since these oil companies cannot control the cost of crude (the primary driver of the cost of production) or the taxes, the net result is an effect on their profit margins. In cases where the cost of production and taxes exceeds the prescribed retail price, the profit margins become negative. These negative profit margins are called ‘under-recoveries’. When international crude prices rose above $130 in 2008, under-recoveries reached an all-time high of Rs. 103,292 crore. Even at much lower prices in 2009-10 (averaging at $70 per barrel), under-recoveries totalled Rs. 46,051 crore. (See Note 2) The latest move is an effort to reduce these under-recoveries. The government cited the recommendations of the Kirit Parkih Committee while announcing its decision (Summary - Kirit Parikh Committee report). Any alternatives to price hike? As is evident from above, under-recoveries can also be reduced by decreasing taxes. In fact, one might argue that by both taxing the product and offering a subsidy, the government is complicating the situation. Usually whenever subsidization coexists with taxation, it serves the purpose of redistribution. For example, taxes might be collected universally but subsidy be granted to the weaker sections only. However, this is not the case in the current situation. What needs to be noted here is that these taxes are a very significant source of revenue. In fact, the total taxes paid by the oil sector to the central and state governments were around 3% of GDP in 2008-09 (See Note 3). Reducing taxes now might make it difficult for successive governments to raise taxation rates on petroleum products again. Moreover, though taxes are levied both by the Centre and the States, the subsidy is borne only by the Centre. Hence, the current arrangement is beneficial to the States. Possible future scenarios The opposition has voiced concerns that the hike in prices is likely to lead to even higher inflation and will further burden the consumer. The Chief Economic Advisor to the Finance Ministry, Dr. Kaushik Basu, however, told the media that these changes would have a beneficial effect on the economy. According to him,

"The (decontrol of petrol prices), coupled with price increase for LPG (cooking gas) and kerosene, will have an immediate positive impact on inflation. I expect an increase of 0.9 percentage points in the monthly Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation".

 

However, he added, that since the hike in fuel prices would push down fiscal and revenue deficit,

"they will exert a downward pressure on prices… More importantly, from now on, if there is a global shortage and the international price of crude rises, this signal will be transmitted to the Indian consumer. It will rationalise the way we spend money, the kinds and amount of energy we use, and the cars we manufacture. It is an important step in making India a more efficient, global player”.

It remains to be seen how the actual situation pans out. Notes 1) Share of tax in retail price (%)

Country Petrol Diesel
France 61% 46%
Germany 63% 47%
Italy 59% 43%
Spain 52% 38%
UK 64% 57%
Japan 48% 34%
Canada 32% 25%
USA 14% 16%
India (Del) 48% 24%

Source:  Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell, PRS (Data as of Feb, 2010) 2) Under-recoveries by oil companies (Rs Crore)

Year Petrol Diesel PDS Kerosene Domestic LPG Total
2004-05 150 2,154 9,480 8,362 20,146
2005-06 2,723 12,647 14,384 10,246 40,000
2006-07 2,027 18,776 17,883 10,701 49,387
2007-08 7,332 35,166 19,102 15,523 77,123
2008-09 5,181 52,286 28,225 17,600 103,292
2008-09 5,151 9,279 17,364 14,257 46,051

Source:  Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell, PRS 3) Contribution to Central and State taxes by Oil Sector (2008-09)

Category Rs (crore)
Sales tax 63,349
Excise duty 60,875
Corporate tax 12,031
Customs duty 6,299
Others (Centre) 5,093
Other (State) 4,937
Profit petroleum 4,710
Dividend 4,504
Total 1,61,798

Source:  Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell

Modernization of Police Forces in Indian states

By Rohit & Anirudh A modified '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
  • 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. Recently, CAG decided to evaluate the working of the scheme and commissioned ‘performance audit’ reviews covering select general category and special category States. Each review covers a contiguous five year period between 2000 and 2007, but varies across selected states. For the periods under review, each state had a plan outlay (the total amount proposed to be spent in modernizing the state's police forces). However, in most cases, the actual release of funds fell significantly short of this outlay - in some cases the Centre did not contribute its share, in others the States lagged behind. For instance, in the case of Bihar, the Centre released only 56% of its share; while in the case of Rajasthan and West Bengal, the States did not release any funds at all. The graph below shows the actual releases by the Centre and the States (as percentages of their share in the proposed outlays): Further, even the funds that were released were not fully utilized. Thus, the amount finally spent fell significantly short of the initial proposal. The graph below shows the actual expenditure by State: Following are some of the other main findings from the CAG report:

Table 1: Summary of main findings in the CAG audit for different states for Modernisation of State Police Forces

Purpose for which money was sanctioned

Summary of CAG Findings

Planning

(Every state has to propose an Annual Action Plan every year. The plan is approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs and money is released as per the plan.)

§

Submissions by the states to the MHA were delayed.

§

There were also delays in the clearance granted by the MHA.

§

In various states such as,

a)

Andhra Pradesh – the government spent money on works not covered by the Annual Action Plan.

b)

Bihar – Persistent delays in preparation of the Plan by the state police.

c)

West Bengal – the plans drawn up by the state did not include items covered under the scheme.

Mobility

§

Overall shortage of vehicles was observed. Most of the new vehicles replaced the old ones.

§

The police response time was too long in some states.

§

To give examples from some states:

a)

Andhra Pradesh – 58 percent of vehicles procured were utilised for replacing old vehicles.

b)

Bihar – the shortage of vehicles was 43 percent.

c)

Uttar Pradesh – 2400 vehicles were procured against a shortage of nearly 10,000 vehicles.

Residential and non-residential buildings

§

There were considerable delays in construction of buildings in most states. Consequently, police forces’ own security was in jeopardy.

§

In states such as:

a)

Andhra Pradesh – 53 percent of staff quarters and 43 percent of official buildings were not completed (2007).

b)

Bihar – The total requirement of housing was nearly 60,000. Only six percent of this were included in the Plan.

c)

Jharkhand – District Control rooms remained non-functional because of shortage of manpower.

Weapons

§ Police force in states continue to depend on outdated weapons.

§

Shortages of weapons also happened as acquisition from ordnance factories was very slow.

§

The weapons that were procured were mostly kept in the district headquarters.

§

In some states such as,

a)

Bihar – AK-47s were kept at the disposal of bodyguards of VIPs.

b)

West Bengal – Adequate weapons were not supplied to extremist prone police stations.

Communication

§

Police Telecommunication Networks were not set up successfully in some states. In others, network was functional only up to the district level.

§

Shortages of various communication equipments were also observed.

§

In some states such as,

a)

Bihar - The Police Telecommunication Network system (costing Rs. 4.96 crore) remained non-functional due to non-construction of tower.

b)

Maharashtra – Of the 850 purchased Remote Station Units, 452 were lying in stores.

Forensic Science Laboratory/ Finger Printing Bureau

§

In most States the Forensic Science Laboratories lacked adequate infrastructure.

§

In the absence of automatic finger print identification systems, investigation was being done manually in some States.

§

In some states such as,

a)

Maharashtra - There were significant delays in receipt and installation. There was also shortage (284 vacant posts) of technical manpower.

b)

West Bengal - Performance of the Forensic Science Laboratory was poor and in some cases, the delay in issue of investigation reports was as high as 45 months.

Training

§

It was observed that the percentage of police personnel trained was very low.

§

Training infrastructure was also inadequate.

§

In some states such as,

a)

Bihar - Only 10 per cent of total force was trained.

b)

West Bengal - Live training was not imparted for handling useful weapons and this severely affected the performance of police forces.

Sources: CAG Compendium of Performance Audit Reviews on Modernisation of Police Force; PRS.

Note: The audit has been done broadly from 2000 to 2007. Consequently, the period of audit for different states may vary.

Table 1: Summary of main findings in the CAG audit for different states for Modernisation of State Police Forces

Purpose for which money was sanctioned

Summary of CAG Findings

Planning

(Every state has to propose an Annual Action Plan every year. The plan is approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs and money is released as per the plan.)

§

Submissions by the states to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) were delayed.

§

There were also delays in the clearance granted by the MHA.

§

In various states such as,

a)

Andhra Pradesh – the government spent Rs 32 crore on works not covered by the Annual Action Plan.

b)

Bihar – Persistent delays in preparation of the Plan by the state police.

c)

West Bengal – the plans drawn up by the state did not include items covered under the scheme.

Mobility

§

Overall shortage of vehicles was observed. Most of the new vehicles replaced the old ones, and no additions were made.

§

The police response time was too long in some states.

§

To give examples from some states:

a)

Andhra Pradesh – 58 percent of vehicles procured were utilised for replacing old vehicles.

b)

Bihar – the shortage of vehicles was 43 percent.

c)

Uttar Pradesh – 2400 vehicles were procured against a shortage of nearly 10,000 vehicles. 203 ambassador cars were procured, though only 55 were approved by the MHA.

Residential and non-residential buildings

§

There were considerable delays in construction of buildings in most states. Consequently, police forces’ own security was in jeopardy. Satisfaction levels with the housing provided were also very low.

§

In states such as:

a)

Andhra Pradesh – 53 percent of staff quarters and 43 percent of official buildings were not completed (2007).

b)

Bihar – The total requirement of housing was nearly 60,000. Only six percent of this were included in the Plan, and only 1045 units were completed by 2006.

c)

Jharkhand – District Control rooms remained non-functional even after spending Rs 2 crore because of shortage of manpower.

Weapons

§

It was observed that the police force in states continue to depend on outdated weapons.

§

Shortages of weapons also happened as acquisition from ordnance factories was very slow.

§

The weapons that were procured were mostly kept in the district headquarters.

§

In some states such as,

a)

Bihar – AK-47s were kept at the disposal of bodyguards of VIPs.

b)

West Bengal – Adequate weapons were not supplied to extremist prone police stations.

Communication

§

Police Telecommunication Networks were not set up successfully in some states. In others, network was functional only up to the district level.

§

Shortages of various communication equipments were also observed.

§

In some states such as,

a)

Bihar - The Police Telecommunication Network system (costing Rs. 4.96 crore) remained non-functional due to non-construction of tower.

b)

Maharashtra – Of the 850 purchased Remote Station Units, 452 were lying in stores.

Forensic Science Laboratory/ Finger Printing Bureau

§

In most States the Forensic Science Laboratories lacked adequate infrastructure.

§

In the absence of automatic finger print identification systems, investigation was being done manually in some States.

§

In some states such as,

a)

Maharashtra - There were significant delays in receipt and installation. There was also shortage (284 vacant posts) of technical manpower.

b)

West Bengal - Performance of the Forensic Science Laboratory was poor and in some cases, the delay in issue of investigation reports was as high as 45 months.

Training

§

It was observed that the percentage of police personnel trained was very low.

§

Training infrastructure was also inadequate.

§

In some states such as,

a)

Bihar - Only 10 per cent of total force was trained.

b)

West Bengal - Live training was not imparted for handling useful weapons and this severely affected the performance of police forces.

Sources: CAG Compendium of Performance Audit Reviews on Modernisation of Police Force; PRS.

Note: The audit has been done broadly from 2000 to 2007. Consequently, the period of audit for different states may vary.

India commences Census 2011

Census 2011 or the 15th National Census, a gigantic exercise to capture the socio-economic and cultural profile of India’s population, began on April 1, 2010.  India undertakes this exercise every 10 years through the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner in the Ministry of Home Affairs.  The census documents details of a billion plus population on diverse subjects such as demography, literacy, fertility and mortality and provides primary data at village, town and ward level. The first census ever to take place in India was in 1872 and the last one was held in 2001.  The Census of India Act, 1948 lays down the rules and regulations pertaining to conduct of a census.  The Act makes it obligatory for the public to answer all the questions faithfully while guaranteeing the confidentiality of the information. The last census was held in 2001, which revealed that India’s population was about 1.03 billion.  Statistical data related to literacy rate, sex-ratio, urban-rural distribution, religious composition, SC/ST population and so on were captured by Census 2001. Features of Census 2011 Census process: India uses the canvasser method for collecting census data.  Under this method, the canvasser approaches every household and records the answer on the schedules himself after ascertaining the particulars from the head of the household or other knowledgeable persons in the household.  The full detail of the methodology is available here. National Population Register (NPR): It would be a register or database of residents of the country.  The government states that such a database would facilitate better targeting of the benefits and services under government schemes and programmes; improve planning and help strengthen the security of the country.  The register is being created under the provisions of the Citizenship Act and Rules. NPR process: Basic details such as name, date of birth and sex shall be gathered by visiting each household of a resident of the country. A database shall be created with addition of biometric information such as photograph, 10 fingerprints and probably Iris information for all persons aged 15 years and above.  The list shall be sent to the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) for de-duplication and issue of UID Numbers.  The cleaned database along with the UID Number would form the National Population Register. There was a controversy over whether Census 2011 should capture caste data.  Since India last collected caste data in 1931, proponents argued that up-to-date, reliable caste data was essential to target welfare schemes towards various backward castes. Opponents however contended that this would perpetuate the caste system.  The government finally decided not to include caste as one of the parameters in the 2011 census. Table 1: Schedule of Census 2011

Schedule State/UT
April 1 New Delhi (NDMC area), West Bengal, Assam,  Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Goa, Meghalaya, Bihar, Jharkhand
April 7 Kerala, Lakshadweep, Orissa, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim
April 15 Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh
April 21 Gujarat, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu
April 26 Tripura, Andhra Pradesh
May 1 Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Punjab, Uttaranchal, Maharashtra
May 7 Madhya Pradesh
May 15 J & K, Manipur, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh
June 1 Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Nagaland

PRS seeks inputs on increasing outreach

We need your ideas and inputs.  Ideas on how we can inform many more people who are interested in policy about what they can access on the PRS website. The mission of PRS is to strengthen the legislative process by making it better informed, more transparent and participatory. The statement has three important components: (a) Better informed: This implies that legislators and citizens need to be better informed about the implications of legislation.  For us in PRS, this implies producing easy-to-understand non-partisan analysis that can be made available to MPs and citizens.  This also includes our continual efforts to personally brief MPs and political parties on the details and implications of each Bill. (b) Transparent: We mean that all proceedings of Parliament and the work of MPs in Parliament should be easily accessible to citizens.  In an operational sense, this includes the effort we put into creating the Bill Track section on our website where every Bill that is pending in Parliament can be accessed, and the current status of the Bill can be tracked.  It also includes the MP Track section in which we have up-to-date information about the engagement levels of MPs in Parliament.  We also have a twitter page www.twitter.com/prslegislative and a Facebook presence. (c) Participatory: Which simply means that once citizens know the information, and would like to articulate a point of view, they should reach out to policy makers and get their point of view across to them.  To promote this, we have had a number of workshops with NGOs and have produced a primer on "Engaging with Policy Makers". These are just some examples of what we are doing in each of these three areas.  Our website has much more information. But we are increasingly of the view that we need to reach out many more people who are interested in policy -- even if it is sector specific.  We would be grateful for any ideas that you might have, which you can post as responses to this post. If you also have specific ideas on what you like on our website and what can be better, do let us know.  Thanks, in advance.

Women’s Day and Reservation: Status of women in India

 

By Kaushiki Sanyal

On March 8, the 100th anniversary of the International Women’s Day, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) intends to debate and put to vote a Bill which has been hanging fire in Parliament since May 6, 2008.  Introduced in the Rajya Sabha, the  controversial Bill seeks to reserve 33% seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assemblies.  The Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice to which the Bill was referred submitted its report on December 17, 2009.  Various political parties, academics and activists have argued the pros and cons of the Bill threadbare. Some of these arguments have been laid down in our analysis of the Bill.

Whether reservation for women in Parliament is the right tool for empowerment may be debatable, it is certainly true that women of this country have a long way to go before they can achieve their potential.  They are hampered by low levels of education, lack of access to health care, lack of employment, and low social status which manifests in crimes such as female foeticide, dowry deaths and domestic violence.  We highlight some socio-economic and political indicators related to women in the following graphs.

 

 

Percentage of women MPs from 1st to 15th Lok Sabha

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§ Women constitute 11% of the newly elected House.

§ Of the larger states Madhya Pradesh has the highest percentage of women MPs (21%), followed by West Bengal (17%) and Uttar Pradesh (15%).

 

 

 

 

Females married before age 18

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§ In India the legal age for marriage is 18 years for females and 21 years for males. However about 44 percent of females, and 37 percent of males are married before the legal age.

§ There are areas in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Bihar where the average female age at marriage continues to be below 16 years.

 

 

 

Literacy rate of women

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§ Census 2001 reveals that 54.2% women are literate.

§ The NSSO data shows huge disparity between urban and rural population. About 64% of rural males and 45% rural females were literate. The literacy rates among their urban counterparts were much higher at 81% and 69% respectively.

 

 

Incidents of crimes against women

Crimes

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Rape (IPC)

15,847

18,233

18,359

19,348

20,737

Dowry Death (IPC)

6208

7026

6787

7618

8093

Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961

2684

3592

3204

4504

5623

Kidnapping & Abduction (Sec 363 to 373 IPC)

13,296

15,578

15,750

17,414

20,416

Torture (IPC 498A)

50,703

58,121

58,319

63,128

75,930

Molestation (Sec 354 IPC)

32,939

34,567

34,175

36,617

38,734

Sexual harassment (Sec 509 IPC)

12,325

10,001

9984

9966

10,950

Importation of Girls (Sec. 366-B IPC)

46

89

149

67

61

Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956

5510

5748

5908

4541

3568

Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986

1043

1378

2917

1562

1200