New Delhi: Members, including from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on Tuesday expressed concern in the Lok Sabha over police personnel committing suicide. The government maintained that steps are being taken to improve the working conditions of the police, especially with regard to their housing.
“It is unfortunate and a matter of deep concern that police personnel who provide security to people often commit suicide,” BJP member Satyapal Singh, a former Mumbai police commissioner, said during question hour in the Lok Sabha.
Asking supplementaries, he also suggested that working hours of police personnel be strictly maintained at eight hours unlike 12-14 hours the police personnel most often work.
“There has to be improvement in housing conditions. States have a role to provide houses to police,” Singh said and added that the general improvement in working conditions of police personnel can come with active cooperation between the centre and states.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh admitted that the “housing satisfaction level” for police is not up to the expected level and said that steps ought to be taken on this necessary regard at the state level.
“But I can tell that some states have tried to bring about improvement in housing satisfaction level,” the home minister said and asserted that the centre is serious about bringing about overall improvement in working conditions for police and also ensuring accommodation for them.
BJP lawmaker Satyapal Singh also asked the centre to direct the states that 100 percent accommodation must be ensured for police personnel.
Congress floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge wanted immediate intervention of the centre to improve the housing conditions of police. “A scheme was sought to be prepared when Mr L.K. Advani was home minister when the centre provided 75 per cent of expenses for police housing,” Kharge said.
Another BJP member, R.K Singh, a former union home secretary, said that earlier police housing was also part of overall police modernisation plans but it was discontinued due to technical reasons.
The home minister assured that the government is serious about improving the working conditions of police and added that a cabinet note is being prepared to bring improvement in the existing police modernisation programmes.
Under non-plan expenditure, there is already a sum of Rs.595 crore earmarked for the same, he said.
Minister of State for Home, Harbhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, admitted that often police have to put in extra duty hours due to manpower shortage.
“From a shortage of 22 lakh personnel, the figure has been brought down substantially. But still we have shortage of five lakh across many states,” Chaudhary said.