For those uninitiated into the world of police budgets, we have put together a primer to understand the various aspects of police expenditure at the Union level. We also present a comparison of the expenditure under various heads between the actuals of 2019-20, revised expenditure of 2020-21, and budgeted expenditure of 2021-22.
Law and order is a state subject according to the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India, i.e. the state legislatures are empowered to make laws related to public order and policing and expenditure allocations for maintenance of the police also occurs at the state level. The Union budget thus mainly reflects the expenditure on central police establishments, central sector schemes, and the transfer to the states/UTs through Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS). Budget 2021 has allocated ₹1038 billion overall for police, 12% more than the revised budget estimate of ₹928 billion, with a little over 90% of it being revenue expenditure. This trend has been observed earlier and the reason has been attributed to the increasing cost of maintaining paramilitary forces (as compared to state police) and they being requisitioned to meet the needs and shortfall in spending by the states (Bhattacharjee, 2017). Additionally, the 15th Finance Commission press release also mentioned that the Union government may constitute in the Public Account of India a dedicated non-lapsable fund, Modernisation Fund for Defence and Internal Security. The total indicative size of the proposed (fund) over the period 2021-26 is ₹ 2,383 billion.
How is the union police budget structured?
Figure 1: Key areas of expenditure under police
Figure 1 depicts a snapshot of the key areas of expenditure under police, who have been at the forefront of COVID-19 management.
88% of the budget allocation (₹908.8 billion) is towards central police establishments which include the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), Intelligence Bureau, National Intelligence Grid, Special Protection Group, Delhi Police, and other Central Police Organisations. This also includes allocation towards Education, Training and Research, Criminology, and Forensic Science, which forms less than 0.5% of the expenditure.
The next biggest allocation is towards Central Sector Schemes/Projects constituting around 6% of the total police budget (₹61.3 billion). This head mainly constitutes capital expenditure (92%). It includes expenditure on IVFRT (Immigration, Visa and Foreigners Registration and Tracking), Border Security Force Air Wing, Aircrafts, River Boats and Helibase, border infrastructure and management, building projects of CAPFs and Central Police Organisations, and Delhi Police, Narcotics Control Bureau, schemes for women safety, and Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre.
The other two main heads of Central Sector Expenditure and CSS both constitute a little over 3% of the total expenditure (~₹34 billion). The former largely constitutes expenditure on Autonomous Bodies such as the Land Port Authority of India, National Forensic Science University, and Rashtriya Raksha University. In addition to this, it also includes spending on India Reserve Battalions and reimbursement to states for the deployment of battalions, welfare grant, and research. It is interesting to note that 83% of the budget under Central Sector Expenditure is allocated for research while the specifics of areas of research and the details of projects are not mentioned. This allocation is in addition to the spending already allocated to BPR&D as a part of the head under Education, Training and Research (under establishment expenditure of the centre).
The main CSS with respect to policing includes Modernisation of State Police Forces (83% of the expenditure on CSS to the tune of ₹28 billion) which constitutes the expenditure on Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), Security Related Expenditure (SRE), and Special Infrastructure Scheme for Left-Wing Extremist (LWE) Areas.
Comparing 2019-20 Actual, 2020-21 Revised Expenditure (RE), and 2021-22 Budget Expenditure (BE)
Figure 2: Overview of the major expenditure heads
A closer look at the total revised estimates of police in the year 2020-21 suggests that it is 10% less than actuals from the previous year, with a 3% fall in establishment expenditure, 44% fall in Central Sector Schemes/Projects, 30% fall in other Central Sector Expenditure and 65% fall in CSS. However, comparing 2020-21 RE to 2021-22 BE indicates that there is an overall 12% increase in budget expenditure with the sharpest increase in Central Sector Expenditure (110%) followed by CSS (76%), Central Sector Schemes/Projects (68%), and the least increase in establishment expenditure (6.1%).
Figure 3: Graph of the major expenditure heads
Analysis of some important heads
There is a 50% increase in the allocation towards modernisation of police forces. This includes CCTNS and e-Prison, among other initiatives. CCTNS is a national-level database to track crime and provide easy access to information on criminals irrespective of the jurisdiction where the crime was committed. CCTNS aims to augment the capacity of police for crime prevention, crime investigation, traffic management and maintenance of police records. The increase in allocation is imperative to meet the current shortcomings of CCTNS which includes obsolescence of hardware and software, limited capacity building, poor quality of data, limited analysis of the data, variation in state-wide progress and connectivity issues.
Under schemes for women’s safety, ₹7.59 billion will be met from Nirbhaya fund towards National Emergency Response System and Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children, Safe City Project and Miscellaneous Schemes. However, the allocation towards Nirbhaya Fund, which is also part of the schemes under women safety, has declined to ₹1 billion, as compared to the budgeted allocation of ₹8.5 billion in 2020-21 and ₹1.7 billion of the 2020-21 revised budget.
The provision for meeting expenditure on Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre has increased by nearly 60% to ₹0.7 billion. To put the cyber crime situation in India into context, it is interesting to note that the total number of cyber-crime cases has increased 30-fold to reach 44,546 cases in 2019, in a span of 10 years (KM, 2021). Additionally, the Internet Crime Report for 2019, released by USA’s Federal Bureau of Investigation, ranked India third in the world for victims of internet crimes.
Another important area is the expenditure on police training, education and research. This includes spending on police training academies, the Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D), and other Research and Development (R&D) projects. This has seen a 5.4% increase. Further, there is a new allocation associated with the newly established Rashtriya Raksha University to the tune of ₹0.7 billion.
While there are always trade offs when it comes to budget allocations, allocating sufficient money towards equipping police and building capacity is critical for maintaining rule of law. A safe environment is a necessary foundation for sustaining steady economic growth, ensuring ease of doing business, and enabling access to justice for all.
Here is the link to the union police budget in excel format for those interested in exploring it further.
Bhattacharjee, S., 2017. Price of law and order: Expenses on police eat into other budget. Business Standard. Available at: <https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/price-of-law-and-order-expenses-on-police-eat-into-other-budget-117061400055_1.html>
Data on Police Organisations, BPRD, 2020, https://bprd.nic.in/WriteReadData/userfiles/file/202101011201011648364DOPO01012020.pdf
Deepak, P., 2021. India stands third among top 20 cyber crime victims, says FBI report. [online] Available at: <https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2020/feb/23/india-stands-third-among-top-20-cyber-crime-victims-says-fbi-report-2107309.html>.
Demand 48, Notes on Demands for Grants, 2021-2022, Ministry of Home Affairs, https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/doc/eb/sbe48.pdf
KM, P., 2021. Decadal Review: Cyber-Crimes increased 30-fold between 2010 & 2019. Factly, [online] Available at: <https://factly.in/decadal-review-cyber-crimes-increased-30-fold-between-2010-2019/>.
Demand for Grants Analysis: Home Affairs, PRS, <https://www.prsindia.org/parliamenttrack/budgets/demand-grants-analysis-home-affairs>.