There has been a drastic increase in number of graduates and post-graduates taking to crime in Maharashtra over a period of five years, data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows. The number of graduate convicts in Maharashtra rose by 178 per cent from 135 in the year 2000 to 376 by 2015. Nationally, graduate convicts have increased by 138 per cent, from 3006 in 2000 to 7,167 in 2015.
Maharashtra has also seen a 234 per cent increase in the number of post-graduate convicts. In 2000, the figure was 63, which swelled to 211 by 2015. Nationally, the number of post-graduate convicts increased by 162 per cent from 937 in 2000 to 2,460 in 2015. The total number of convicts during the same period rose by only 29 per cent in Maharashtra and 109 per cent nationally. This steady increase in the number of educated convicts has meant that graduates and post-graduates, who earlier made up only 3.24per cent of the total convict population in the state, now constitute 7.43per cent.
There has also been a sharp spurt in the number of educated undertrials in the state. Graduate undertrials in Maharashtra rose 179 per cent from 458 in 2000 to 1,280 in 2015. Nationally, graduate undertrials grew by 117 per cent from 7,534 to 16,365 in the same period. The number of postgraduate undertrials has increased strikingly in the state by a whopping 590 per cent. In 2000, Maharashtra had 77 post graduate undertrials which in 2012 stands at 532.
Nationally, their numbers increased by 133 per cent from 2,238 in 2000 to 5,225 in 2015. These rising numbers mean that graduate and post graduate undertrials who used to make up only 3.56per cent of the state’s total undertrial population now form almost 8.3 per cent of the total undertrials in Maharashtra.
Sociologist have blamed this trend to the rising consumerism in the country, where for many people, it has become acceptable to make a fast buck in as short a time as possible. “With the growth of the market economy, financial services and the parallel growth of mass consumerism, individual aspirations have changed in Urban India. Criminology demarcates the crime committed by the poor and the crimes committed by the rich. This demarcation, however, seems to be waning. Opportunities for committing financial crimes, corporate frauds and cyber crimes abound today in an economy that has opened up but has not been able to put effective regulatory systems in place to check corruption and frauds,” Dr Vijay Raghavan, associate professor and chairperson, Centre for Criminology and Justice at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, said.