New Delhi, Mar 28: Calling for a significant surge in women recruitment in the police as a lever to push for police reforms, change public perceptions and improve good governance, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Thursday said that this would 'radically' transform policing into "a public service."
Mr Kant launched a Model Policy on Women in Police by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) which lays down a framework to guide government efforts at improving gender diversity, providing agency and power for women in police services across the country.
Endorsing the report, Mr. Kant said it was crucial to rank states to “name and shame them” and enable them to adopt progressive policies, illustrating it from his own experience of industrial policy and development.
“Such reports will bring about a new phase of policing in India.. (and) we at the NITI Aayog will be happy to work with CHRI to make this a part of our index [of ranking of states by policing quality].”
The report was developed in consultation with serving and retired police officers, academics, and independent experts, and makes a case for a clear, time-bound and comprehensive action plan for equal opportunities for women in police where they comprise just over 7 per cent of the total police force. Most state governments are far from targets for recruitment which they have set themselves for policing is a state subject.
Referring to this, Mr. Kant remarked, “Less than 1 per cent of policewomen in India occupy senior ranks. Over 90 per cent of them remain constables — the lowest possible rank — which is the position they enter the force and eventually retire from. I have rarely seen police stations headed by women.”
“But wherever women police officers have entered the force, they have made a very positive contribution to policing. If more women entered the force, policing in India would be radically transformed from being just a policing activity to becoming a public service,” he added. But he noted that just increasing numbers would not help achieve mainstreaming.
“Not enough can be said or done about the need for police reforms in India,” said CHRI International Director Sanjoy Hazarika.
“But no matter how onerous this task is, efforts must continue to embed changes, at the institutional, cultural and in training process but especially in the hearts and minds of all ranks so they can perform without fear or favour,” he added.
Present for the launch were Wajahat Habibullah, former Chief Information Commissioner, former chairperson of the National Minorities Commission and chair of the CHRI’s India Executive Committee, Devyani Srivastava, lead author of the report and Senior Programme Officer, Police Reforms, CHRI, and Devika Prasad, head of the Police Reforms team, CHRI. (UNI)