GUWAHATI, July 12 - The Centre is likely to continue providing funds to the states of the North East region for modernization of the police forces.
Meanwhile, with militancy in the region on the wane, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is of the view that the police forces of the NE states should be more �people-centric�.
Highly placed sources in the MHA told The Assam Tribune that after increasing the percentage of devolution of Central taxes, the Centre was planning to discontinue the scheme of providing funds for modernization of the police forces. However, the Chief Ministers of all the states of the region, in their meeting with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday, requested that the scheme should continue as they do not have the resources for the required modernization of the police forces.
Sources said that the Centre is �actively considering� the request of the Chief Ministers and the scheme is likely to continue, at least for some time to come.
It may be mentioned here that the Centre has been providing funds to the states of the region for modernization of police forces. Under the scheme, the states can procure weapons, equipment for communication and surveillance, vehicles, computers etc. The States can also go for improvement of police infrastructure, including construction of police stations and quarters for police personnel under the scheme. The Centre is also providing funds for computerization of the police forces.
Over the years, Assam received the highest amount among all the states of the region under the scheme.
Sources said that the MHA also wanted a paradigm shift in the activities of the police forces. For years, the focus of the police forces of most states of the region was on dealing with militancy, but with the level of violence coming down, the Centre wants the police to become more proactive in dealing with the problems faced by the common people.
The Home Minister has also stressed the need for improving the criminal justice system in the region for the benefit of the common people.
Replying to a question on whether forces would be withdrawn from the region as reported in a section of the media, MHA sources said that although no decision has yet been taken, the Home Minister has asked the Chief Ministers to go for a proper audit of the presence of Central forces in their respective states and make sure that optimum utilization of the available forces is made.
Sources revealed that the deployment of Central forces in the region, at this moment, is higher than the time when militancy was at its peak. �Additional forces were deployed in the region when militancy was at its peak, but now the level of violence has come down, while the forces have not been withdrawn. Moreover, the militancy-hit states raised India Reserve Battalions with funding from the Centre. That is why there is need for proper audit of force deployment and their use, as keeping extra forces creates a negative impact in the minds of people. Moreover, the Centre can always rush required forces wherever necessary,� sources added.