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Friday, September 09, 2011

The Great Indian Police Constable

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A huge and diverse country as India requires equally huge and diverse set of Police forces. Fortunately we do have diverse Police forces ( State Plice, CRPF, Railways Police, RAF, CID) but the size and ultimately the effectiveness of Police for the Mango Man is really questionable.

An official statement from our government, which can be read here is certainly not very encouraging. So as per this statement, we have 142 Police personnel per 100,000 of population. Please be ware that this is the sanctioned Police force. The actual statistics are much disappointing. As can be read in this another sarkari report, the actual figures are almost 30% lower across categories ( Police/Population, Police/Area). So we the mango man actually have roughly 100 mango policemen per 100,000 mangoes.

Unfortunately our dear state governments are least bothered about addressing this issue, infact they are trying their best to make the matters worse. Its an open secret that most of the Police constables in any district are on duty at the official, private residents of respective MLA, MP, Ward President. Some of them are busy purchasing vegetables free of cost for the senior police officers or perhaps picking and dropping the kids of other wealthy politicians and powerful bureaucrats, round the clock. So it is safe to assume that hardly 30-40 mango policemen are ultimately made available for 100,000 of we the mangoes.

So even if you don't understand the Special Theory of Relativity, dont worry, I am sure you can easily understand and comprehend how effective will our mango police be.

Let us try to guess the reason behind, 30% shortfall in the mango police force. Eureka, its all about the money, mango honey !!

A mango police constable gets anywhere between Rs.3000 to Rs.9000 ( after 5-8 years of experience) officially, legally. Dont trust me, read for yourself the pay scale for Constables and other officials at the CBI website here You might also like to read the advertisement of Uttaranchal Police or Kerala Police. These constables are hardly 10th pass and are given some basic training. Maids in my small town of Ajmer in Rajasthan charge anywhere between Rs.600-Rs.1000 per month for 1-1.5hrs of work per day. These maids are working in 6-8 houses at a time and cumulatively are able to earn Rs.6000- Rs.8000 per month.

So, with an average salary of Rs.5000 per month, how high morale will a constable have? He knows that even after working for another 10 years his salary might be still around Rs.10000 and adjusting to inflation his salary might actually decrease with time. So naturally these constables and head constables would like to make some decent money for themselves and for their families and will be inclined towards getting into arguments on street so as to make an additional of Rs.50-Rs.100 per day. Forget the high profile cases, how many cases of thefts, minor crimes are actually solved ever in India? They dont get performance related bonuses, they get recognition, they don't even get proper training to combat the smart crooks and bloody terrorists loaded with modern arms and ammunition.

Let us assume that some of Police Constables are really exceptional and genuinely intent to work for the betterment of society and country. But time and again they are being deputed to buy grocery for some minister's wife or for providing special protection to late night birthday party of rich kid. While puppeting around our mango Police Constable looses his self-respect and slowly unwillingly falls in the trap.

So, How can they be motivated to work for the mango people and tackle crime proactively? Instead they are literally pushed to the wall and start focusing their time and energies on collecting ransom money from road side hawkers and small shopkeepers.

To make matters worse, these mango Policemen don't even get weekly offs or annual paid vacations. They are woken up at wee hours to accompany the 'baba' to airport or pickup some high profile guest of a local vip.

I am not trying to justify the corrupt activities our mango police gets indulged into, but we all know that no strong laws will be of any good unless law enforcement and monitoring agencies are vigilant, effective, motivated and really care about their neighbourhood and city in general. No doubts that India has some of the very well trained, educated and qualified IPS officers and at senior level the quality of Police officers is really at par with world, but we the mango people come across and interact with constables and the general perception about India Police is created as a result of these interactions only. As statistics reveal there's no money, career progress, learning and growth opportunities (the reasons for which most of us work) for a constable and so definitely not many will be interested to become one.

The IB, CBI, NIA, CID can only reach a very small percentage of people and unless our sophisticated and high profile agencies learn to use the and not just abuse the Police machinery to monitor and gather intelligence the criminals will live and die in peace. They know that by merely giving Rs.500 a new passport, ration card or a new license and hence a new identity can be attained and with some money and political protection Police or any other agency will not be able to take any significant action against them. We cant expect to combat terrorism and gather information about cross border crimes without gathering information at fringes. We must involve the Police in issues pertaining national importance.

While researching a bit for this post, I came across a elaborate and fantastic report report prepared by Dr.Jay Prakash's Loksatta team. Several individuals have previously attempted for this cause and Human Rights Law Network too has done a fantastic job it this report.

So, who's stopping the reforms. A sitter of a question indeed, no-one and everyone. If you will ask this question with any of the state government, they will tell how important these reforms are but they are not getting support from opposition or central government and similar lame excuses will be given by central government, the prime one would - police is a state matter! The Political parties will loose the discretionary power, the protection, the aura and hence all the money they make by running illicit businesses in the backyard of their party headquarter, if they bring in these Police Reforms on table. Hence they make sure to form committees, generate reports after reports and blame lack of 'Political Will' behind all their failures to implement these much needed reforms.

I strongly believe that if Comprehensive Police reforms are implemented our democracy will be strengthened to a very large extent, crime and terrorism will fall sharply and if we complement the Police Reforms with Janlokpal, Judiciary reforms, India can definitely get rid of corruption in our lifetimes! Its high time we understand that if we want to live in safety, we must safeguard the interest of guardians of our safety and security !!


Image source- BBC


  1. Hi Nithi,
    Good theory and great post. How we feel the pinch isnt it after seeing such good police in Doha. Are you in doha city?

  2. thanks for the comment Sush. You are right, the police especially in small countries is so much professional and effective. High pays is one of the prime reason behind it.

    I recently moved to Dubai

  3. Nitin,
    Good write up. I beg to differ in regards to salary. Over here in the States, police receive very little pay. There's almost zero corruption, yet they are so reliable. I would dial 911 without a blink and accept police to be at my aid in no time. They are willing to lay their life on life in order to protect people. Even with little salary.

    BTW, thanks for dropping by my blog :)

  4. Hi Kiran. By low salaries I meant in comparison to the critical job they are doing. Salary of Constable, Sr.Constable in India is almost same as what an illiterate house maid or daily wage labour working at construction site might get.

    By reviewing these 2 sites itself, I dont think the salary in US for entry level to middle level officers is as low as that in India

  5. good post...I agree that the salary is very less...which makes it easy for them to become the end of the day the dishonest ones take home a lot...

  6. Yes Nitin,

    Again I find you in collaborating all possible aspect to determine the conclusion. Well crafted..

    However, corruption can't be combated with Corruption of laws,policy, thought, perception or any similar procedure or guidelines..

    Thanks & awaiting for the next..

    How many citizen's know what's the "Ideal" of our Country!..

  7. @Sub, yeah though it may sound cliche form 1980s movies, but not only the dishonest ones take home a lot, but the honest ones are penalized! But with democrization of information, the people's power is on rise, though in little chaotic manner.

    @Atanu - thanks for the comment. I agree that corruption cant be combated in a huge, diverse country like India with laws and policies. But we must appreciate that ultimately our soldiers and policemen are all humans and dont even get the time to think or fight for their own rights. A bit of appreciation and decent salary take care of one's family in lieu of one's life, is asking too much ?

  8. hmm...a complete study on the police personnel. quite a different subject & well written
    so much info too

  9. Thanks Sujatha. The Policemen have been a central theme of Bollywood for decades but Police reforms have never been discussed by political parties, public and media, despite of having so much significance.

  10. a very very gud post sir..
    We always blame d police 4 bein so inefficient .. Bt we nva realise dat dey r so underpaid..
    nd dat is y dey end up bein corrupt..
    Bt sir ppl who need higher salaries neednt join d forces . Dey shud resign nd go 4 jobs wich ll pay dem more.. I mean as long as govt doesnt pay d forces more its al dey cn do.
    even d army was underpaid till sm tym.. Bt dey wernt as corrupt.. Wer they???

  11. Hi Infallible! As I wrote above, the low salaries, lack of incentives is ONE of the reasons for corruption in Police. And assuming that there was 0 corruption in Police, we still need to have these reforms so as to have humane working conditions and Policemen get what they deserve and so we the people also get what we deserve, i.e. more police, efficient police and safe cities, towns and villages !!

  12. Hey, your blog site has caught some "mango" virus!

    And oho, what do I read here:
    "Bt sir ppl who need higher salaries neednt join d forces . Dey shud resign nd go 4 jobs wich ll pay dem more.. I mean as long as govt doesnt pay d forces more its al dey cn do.
    even d army was underpaid till sm tym.. Bt dey wernt as corrupt.. Wer they???"

    OMG - are you even aware?

    1) Armed forces have not direct interaction with the general public. The places where they have - like J&K, North East - please talk to the public of those places.

    2) The corruption, in terms of amount of money, may be far greater in armed forces. Do you know the cost of a battle tank? or a fighter plane?
    Or a submarine?
    What are the stakes? And how much kick-backs would be paid to the top officers.

    3) Regular use of official vehicles, fuel, ration, provisions etc for personal use + selling it to civilians.

    Perhaps the difference may be just of percentage.
    99% of police force is corrupt.
    9% of armed forces are corrupt.


    Now coming to the actual problems in life.
    Yes you may have high ideals in life, and be like a saint.
    But the problem is you live in a society. You get tempted by temptations.
    You get jealous when someone else is living far more luxuriously.
    You get competitive when you see you can also make money.

    These are all natural survival instincts.

    Same happens to all the forces too (police, army etc). Ppl join with high ideals.
    But they have families to run. And children.
    And status to maintain.

    And soon reality takes over the ideals. You need money. You are responsible for security of 10000 ppl but still you earn less than EACH of those 10000 ppl???


    And someone mentioned about police in US being less paid too.

    Less paid compared to who?
    Less = what?

    We are not comparing with scum of the earth investment bankers.

    In US, a police personnel can still buy a decent house. Can buy a car. Can have "english daru" daily. Can afford to send their kids to school.
    Can afford to buy jewellery for their better halves. Has medical insurance to take care of health and emergencies. Can ... (blah blah)

    What about Indian police constable?

    Of course the cause of corruption is not only this economic basis, but also a social institution (of hafta) established by the "elders" and the Indian (P/F)oolis(h) Service officials at the top.

  13. alpha1- ya my Mango consumption went to all time lows in past 7 years, so making up for that :)

  14. Middle east doesn't allow import of Indian mangoes?

  15. I think somebody in PMO is reading my posts secretly!

    Constable backbone of policing; need better training: Manmohan

  16. "But with democrization of information, people's power is on rise, though in a little chaotic manner."
    You are so right when you say that, Nitin. More power to the people. If all these faltu so-called VIPs want to use the police as their own personal body-guards or for their shopping and housework, they should be made to pay. Better still, they should employ private personnel and not take our police away from their important duties. And enough has been said about increasing the ordinary policeman's pay so they don't resort to having their palms greased by law breakers to augment their income.

    1. thanks KayEm. People's power will always rise in a chaotic manner, and only over a period of 10-50 years, it gets organized. A lot has to be done to protect the interests of our Policemen so they can protect us. Thanks for the comments...hope you read and share your thoughts on other posts too.

  17. A routine writeup with some sympathy for the ordinary constable.Hope you have talked to some constables about their plight.How many here remember constable Odumbe.There lies to crux of the problem.Every one here will know the size of Linsay lohan's bust or the various Kareena kappors daliances but not about police at all.Today when Nitish, jayalalitha,Modi etc write to PM against Chidmabaram's NCTC, everyone in media applauding it as an instance of centre/state relations.But how many have gone into the real issues involved. How many remember those navy's MARCOS commandoes(nearly 100 of them) from mumbai naval base could not face upto those 6 terrorists in TAJ and Oberoi.Why it was necessary for NSG from Delhi to come and do the job under late Maj Unnikrishnan? Then how is it Odumbe could face up Kasab and his companion and catch Kasab live? Odumbe did not even have 303 rifle while 50 odd constables in CST Mumbai could not face upt AK 56 of Kasab
    Indian Media doesnot ask these questions because our youth just donot bother about these issues.A RPF jawan sees a theif taking money in a railway compartment but he cannot prosecute him after capturing him as he has to hand over the guy to GRP? But our youth will laud Modi or Jaya for opposing the new RPF bill.

    1. thanks for your valuable inputs Captain. I complete agree with you that no amount of arms and arsenal can replace courage, the human spirit to fight. Unfortunately yes, I havent spoken to the Police in recent past but have some idea. I agree with you on the unplanned and chaotic way in which Mumbai terror attack was handled. Planning and strategy was absent, but definitely if we had access to better technology, access to better talent pool (which is available only if pay, potential to perform, grow etc)India would have been a much safer place.

  18. informative post
    thanks for sharing


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