5T blooper: Odisha police expenditure lowest in country!

Odisha Police expenditure veered around 2.9% of total expenditure during the period 2015-20. In 2020-21, proportion dropped to 2.6% , which is lowest in country

Bhubaneswar: Here is a shocker.When CM Naveen Patnaik has been emphasising on 5T in police, the Odisha police seems to be most fund-starved force in the country, despite having mounting challenges and third largest workforce in the State.

Even, the budget 2020-21, where 5T has been the preamble, has failed in correcting the lean cash-flow syndrome that afflicts Odisha police since the last decade.

The Odisha police saw an allocation of Rs 3,941.4 crore in 2020-21, including zero provision for capital expenditure. The allocations in years 2018-19 and 2019-20  were Rs 3,101 cr and Rs 3,499 cr, respectively.

As per RBI data on police expenditure in Odisha, allocations for the state police have been on an average around 2.9 per cent of the total expenditure during the period 2015-20.

And in 2020-21, the proportion dropped to 2.6 per cent, which is lowest in the country. A comparative analysis reveals how Odisha spends less on police than its neighbours.

While Jharkhand on an average allocated 6.7 per cent of its total expenditure for Police, the proportion spent by Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh stood at 4.6 per cent, 3.7 per cent and 3.2 per cent, respectively.

Now, sample the outcome of country-poorest spending.

As per the Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPRD) report, a total of 118 police stations, 51 police posts and 1 range office is functional in hired buildings, when BPRD norms specify that offices of police should function in government buildings to maintain sanctity of the service.

The State police has a single main forensic lab, 3 regional labs and 12 mobile vans. Jharkhand has 18 mobile lab vans. In crime investigation, mobile forensic labs prove a clincher in detecting the crime plot scientifically.

When digitisation has been the buzzword today, State police has only 121 servers. Servers play a huge role in crime data transfer and surveillance through CCTVs installed at crime prone spots and traffic junctions.

Above all, when Odisha has only 322 police personnel for crime investigation ,  a smaller State like Jharkhand has 361. This poor number hints at why the crime investigation has been tardy in the State.  

Police expenditure also included expenditure on training and modernization. The BPRD report shows Odisha allocates around 1.3 per cent of the police budget on training. The spending remains below the earmarked amount.

Regarding  assistance released by Centre under Modernisation of Odisha police, utilisation certificates are pending for a sum of Rs 1.81 crore  till date. As per BPRD report, when the police modernisation budget in Odisha stood at Rs 68.39 crore, the expenditure stood at only Rs 41 crore in 2019.

In order to maintain sound public order, policing has the responsibility to look after safety and security of citizens; collection of intelligence and crime investigation. An analysis of State police spending shows the allocation mainly caters to fund salaries, costs of domestic travel, maintenance of motor vehicles and fuel (petrol/diesel) cost.