Home Ministry 2013 review
During the year 2013, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) dealt with the challenges of security, law and order, disaster management, police modernisation and border management among other issues. Important consultation meetings with the Chief Ministers, DGPs of States/UTs on law and order and naxalities management were also held. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, launch of Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS), Strengthening of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 were other highlights during the year.
Strengthening of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967
The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2012 as passed by the Parliament has come into force from February 1, 2013. The Act enlarges the ambit of the “Terrorist Act” by incorporating threats/dangers to the economic security of the country and the monetary stability of India by way of production, smuggling or circulation of high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency. The law increases the period of declaration of an association as unlawful from two years to five years, criminalises high quality counterfeiting and includes within its scope offences by companies, societies or trusts and provides for punishment to them.
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013
A committee headed by Justice J.S. Verma, former Chief Justice of Supreme Court, was set up on December 23, 2012, to give recommendations on amending laws to provide for speedy justice and enhanced punishment for criminals in sexual assault cases. The Justice Verma Committee in its report submitted on January 23, 2013, agreed to most of the provisions of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2012. Government wanted to amend criminal laws affecting women immediately and since the Parliament was not in session, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 was promulgated on February 3, 2013. In the Budget Session, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013 was passed by the Lok Sabha on March 19, 2013, and by the Rajya Sabha on March 21, 2013. The President of India has accorded his assent to the Bill on April 2, 2013.
Substantive amendments in IPC, Cr.P.C and Indian Evidence Act have been made to effectively deal with the crime against women. Sentence of death has been provided as punishment in case of rape followed by death or vegetative state of the victim. For the first time acid attack, human trafficking, voyeurism, stalking etc. have been included as a specific offence and severe punishment has been prescribed. Non-treatment of victims of rape and acid attack by the hospitals (Government/Private) has been made punishable. The police has been made accountable and disobeying of any directions of law (like not recording of FIR) has been made punishable. Adequate provisions have been made to protect the women victim from harassment and humiliation during investigation and trial.
Terrorist activities in the hinterland continue to remain a threat. There have been three incidents of bomb blasts: first in Hyderabad in which 17 persons died, the second in Bengaluru in which there was no casualty and the third in Bodh Gaya in which no casualty was reported. The MHA has agreed to the request of the Bihar Government for handing over the security of Bodh Gaya Complex to CISF. In some of these incidents, the Investigating Agencies have been able to identify and arrest the persons responsible and in other cases the investigations are on. The Government is committed for safety and security of its citizens and in this regard the arrest of Yasin Bhatkal, Tunda, Haddi and solving of recent blasts cases proves this resolve.
Modernisation of State Police Forces
The Scheme for Modernisation of State Police Forces (MPF Scheme) has been extended for a further period of five years with effect from the financial year 2012-13 to 2016-17, with funding partly under non-plan and partly under plan. The items required by the State Police under mobility, weapons, equipment, training equipment, forensic equipment are funded under non-plan. The construction/upgradation of police stations/outposts, police lines, police housing, forensic science laboratories and training infrastructure, construction of buildings are funded under plan budget.
Under the scheme, an allocation of ` 8,195.53 crore has been approved under non-plan and ` 3,750.87 crore under plan during the Twelfth Five Year Plan period (2012-17). In the current year, outlay for MPF Scheme is ` 750 crore under non-plan and ` 1,097 crore under plan. Mega City Policing in six cities namely, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Bengaluru has been approved as a sub-set under non-plan component of MPF Scheme.
Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems
Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS), Mission Mode Scheme was approved in 2009 with a provision of ` 2,000 crore as a 100 per cent centrally-sponsored scheme to be implemented during 2009-12. This has now been extended up to March 31, 2015. A pilot launch of CCTNS was launched on January 4, 2013, which earmarked connectivity of nearly 2000 CCTNS locations in 25 States/Union Territories. The implementation of the project has picked up and contracts with System Integrators have been signed in different States/Union Territories.