How one can use expertise to trace crime

“There’s a sucker born each minute.” This aphorism is an everlasting reality, although its antecedents are obscure. (P T Barnum, the showman, could have been adept within the follow, however there isn’t any proof he stated it, regardless of the attribution.) In a current rip-off, 28 males from Tamil Nadu succumbed to temptation. On paying exorbitant sums, they had been promised assorted jobs in Indian Railways and had been subjected to faux coaching for a month. This coaching consisted of being stationed at New Delhi railway station, the place they counted the variety of trains that handed via completely different platforms. Regardless of most being engineering graduates, they didn’t odor a rat and given the variable high quality of engineering graduates, most likely thought they had been being examined for numeracy.

This weird rip-off is matched by one from Ludhiana. An individual posed because the Central Commandant of Crime and Legal Monitoring Community Techniques (CCTNS). Appearing as CCTNS officers, he and different scamsters extracted cash from gullible younger males, who had been issued faux IDs, promising them jobs as investigating officers in CCTNS. Dishonest, forgery, impersonation and different crimes — one will now have the ability to seek for the scamsters on CCTNS. CCTNS has been a piece in progress for a while, with earlier initiatives like Crime and Criminals Data System (CCIS) and Widespread Built-in Police Software (CIPA) as precursors. Amongst precursors, there are some state-specific initiatives too.

CCTNS feeds into the Interoperable Legal Justice System (ICJS). The latter covers e-courts, e-prisons, forensics and prosecution, leveraging expertise to make prison justice supply extra environment friendly. Aside from a nationwide database of crime and criminals, CCTNS connects police stations and digitises FIR registration, investigation and cost sheets. In a broader sense, that is about higher e-governance.

The prison justice system is supposed to be a deterrent in opposition to crime, punishing mala fide (and prison) acts and defending the bona fide. If a criminal offense is dedicated, this requires (a) investigation; (b) FIR; (c) a charge-sheet; (d) prosecution; and (e) profitable conviction. Of those 5, the final two should do with ICJS and the best way courts work. However the different three hyperlinks should do with the police. There are weaknesses in every hyperlink and charges range, relying on the state and the character of crime. Figures are additionally a perform of the 12 months. Roughly, for IPC (Indian Penal Code) crimes, investigation charges are round 65 per cent. An investigation needn’t essentially result in an FIR or charge-sheet, however what occurs to the remaining 35 per cent? The Northeast has different points. For the remaining, if the investigation charge will be greater than 95 per cent in Gujarat, why is it nearly 45 per cent in Jharkhand? Cost-sheeting charges (as share of circumstances investigated) additionally range broadly throughout states. For IPC crimes, the all-India common is simply over 72 per cent. However, it may be over 90 per cent in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala and West Bengal, whereas it’s lower than 40 per cent in Assam.

For tax functions, India is now one nation, or will probably be, as soon as all oblique taxes grow to be a part of GST. The prison justice methods must also be standardised, harmonised and built-in. In any case, a citizen must be entitled to the identical degree of regulation and order, no matter residence. CCTNS is designed to realize that. There are round 17,000 police stations and greater than 97 per cent (a barely outdated determine, it could be larger now) have CCTNS software program and connectivity. What does one do with this? Digitise knowledge, guarantee knowledge migration, feed FIR registration into CCTNS, launch citizen portals and so forth. These are fascinating goals. Nonetheless, simply as prefixing the letter “e” in e-governance doesn’t routinely enhance governance, the CCTNS device facilitates, however doesn’t routinely enhance police efficiency.

The Ministry of House Affairs does an annual rating of police stations, based mostly on goal knowledge (with an 80 per cent weight) and a survey-based evaluation (with 20 per cent weight). In 2022, Aska in Ganjam (Odisha) was ranked the most effective police station. CCTNS doesn’t enter the rating immediately, although not directly, it does. The short-listing for a state (UT) is finished on the idea of CCTNS. If CCTNS isn’t used, there isn’t any likelihood of being short-listed. That is for police stations. Throughout states, there’s a separate Pragati dashboard on completely different points of CCTNS – infrastructure, manpower and use of the database. Thus, 97 per cent of police stations could have been related to CCTNS, however the determine is 77 per cent for West Bengal (as of January 2022). Zero per cent of legacy knowledge has migrated in Bihar.

There are causes for this variation amongst states – under-staffing (each vacancies and filling of vacancies) being one. Each police and prisons are within the State Listing of Seventh Schedule. In 2016, the MHA introduced out a mannequin jail guide. Many states haven’t adopted this and haven’t up to date their outdated jail manuals. What is going to e-Prisons obtain? For that matter, shouldn’t prisoners have entry to Aadhaar, for enrolment and upgradation? That makes jail administration simpler. In fact, Aadhaar can’t be made obligatory, since being a prisoner can’t be interpreted as being a recipient of presidency welfare advantages. Nonetheless, even when it’s not obligatory, authentication via the voluntary use of Aadhaar has taken off in assorted providers. Extra broadly, the agenda of police reforms has been caught for years. Just like the mannequin jail guide, nothing a lot emerged via Mannequin Police Acts (Payments). We’re distant from the rules of 1 nation – “one police” and “one jail”. On this side of governance, if states belong to 2 completely different worlds, irrespective of how good a device CCTNS is, the advantages will fall brief.

The author is chairman, Financial Advisory Council to the PM. Views are private

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