The Maharashtra home department has rolled out an asset management plan, adopting corporate practices as it seeks to streamline, integrate and account for the assets of the state police such as land, ammunition and other moveables besides human resources, in what appears to be a first-of-its-kind exercise in the country.
For now, the department has given a working title, ‘Asset Management’, involving open interface across the 45 police units in the state, along with sensitive combat arms of the force, with potential impact in deployments and policing.
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On Tuesday, commissioners and nodal units of the rural police across the state sat through an early morning video conference where the contours of the project were explained to them, including corporate jargon such as “verticals” and “resource allocation”. While tenders will be designed to attract companies in the IT sector, it is also touted to be the first home department project in which there will be elbow room specifically to incorporate system designs and support environment from Indian start-ups.
According to officials, there was a brainstorming for the project two months ago — soon after the CCTV project was rolled out, to look for solutions to larger issues — with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who heads the department. Deadlines were set at the meeting and the basic outline given to the consultants was to “adopt practices that help the police to do policing” efficiently without being burdened by administrative lapses. The interface — divided into three heads — will see units assembling all their resources in a centrally managed live database under the heads of ‘land’, ‘assets’ and ‘human resources’.
The Maharashtra Police now has 5,000 acres of land spread across its units, in the form of training grounds, academies, barracks, storage, police offices, combat units and housing. The land interface, which will be supported by GIS mapping, is expected to be monitored in real time to ensure zero encroachments. One of the issues plaguing the police is the lack of a database of occupancy of police homes that are available. The project will help to obtain an active feedback on the number of police personnel who are spread across units and who need a house. In most crowded cities and towns in Maharashtra, the fastest urbanising state in the country, the police personnel stay at least two hours away from their police jurisdiction, with the delay to report also adding to the pressure.
The most interactive aspect of the interface also includes a special section of all the available resources at hand, be it combat or rescue. “This is essentially to stop leakages,” explains K P Bakshi, Additional Chief Secretary (Home), citing the examples of cartridges and tear gas. “Suppose, Kolhapur needs bullets or tear gas, and you have one full stock with Jalgaon, which is nearing expiry. This asset interface will flag the stock and we can use it in real time,” he says.
According to Bakshi, indents will be fresh and deadlines for purchase “more emergency oriented”. A senior official from the Maharashtra director general of police’s office who is involved in the exercise also says the project will help in “adding value to the resources”. “In combat fields, innovation keeps defence alive. In asset audits, you can spot a better resource giving optimum results, which will help in planning at the nodal stage. The patterns always show, and the stock which is left unused for a longer period, could also raise awareness on its needs. This of course is not meant for ammunitions of a higher scale which will see active rotations and gets calibrated in sensitive surroundings,” he says.
Close to 29,000 vehicles of the state police — with the Commissioner of Mumbai alone holding charge for 5,000 vehicles — may now be utilised better. An official from the motor vehicles department says the auditing of assets will also help better servicing and ensure obsoletes are ticked off within three budget years, as they are seen as liabilities, with most combat vehicles components required to be sourced from abroad. There are several units that also have JCBs and cranes under them, which can be moved to areas where natural disasters require additional mobile deployment. The field visit findings conducted by the panel empanelled by the home department indicate the absolute dependence on “manual recording” with no knowledge of available resources across the neighboring jurisdictions. The audits will be designed to ensure “life expectancy of each resource is optimised”.
In terms of human resource — the core of policing — with a total of over 2 lakh personnel, the deployments are planned to be backed by “complete control of infantry”, says an official. On a very basic level, the records will show the work history of the personnel marking the dates he took leave, and also allow linking his work hours with police events. On a broader scale, with an integrated health registry backing this interface, the nodal heads can also make better decisions on the manner to employ the personnel. “There is no science behind deployments now. This will allow it,” says Bakshi. The individual’s fitness and training is also expected to be added as the interface matures, with deployments further linked to availability of ammunition at real time.