Aiming to counter extremist ideologies that incite children and youth, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked states to effectively implement the Student Police Cadet (SPC) programme in schools. The programme, which was recommended during the National Police Congress in Dehradun in 2011, has already been implemented in Kerala, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka and Rajasthan. The communication notes that discussions on such a programme had recorded that the top-down traditional show of force by police is not a comprehensive response to such issues. “Countering such extremist ideologies in thought and in action, and (to) make the young agents of peace and security is the key objective of SPC programme,” stated the communication sent to all states.
The programme also aims to address issues like underage sex, anti-establishment behaviour, substance abuse, heinous crimes by children and protection from ideological and religious radical organisations focusing on youth and children as new recruits, says the notification. “Today, a third of India’s population is below 14 years of age and by 2030, over half of India’s population will be young. We need to address issues that our youths will face,” said a senior official. The MHA communication demands convergence of several ministries and local self-government institutions for the programme and states that the state home department would be the implementing agency.
It also notes that the Home Ministry would address all states to roll out the nationwide programme in a phased manner. The participants will be given two sets of uniforms, one for physical training and the other for parade. Incentives to students who take part in the programme, like bonus marks, may be discussed in later meetings, notes the communication. The MHA has prepared a draft memorandum for the programme, which is to be launched in 3,440 schools across the country, with 44 cadets from each school. The total budget for the programme is Rs 430 crore for a period of three years.
The implementation of the programme in 413 schools across Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and the eight north-eastern states will be funded by the Centre and the state concerned in the 90:10 ratio. The remaining schools will be funded in the 60:40 ratio. “The programme is being proposed as a long-term sustainable and constructive solution to major internal security challenges witnessed in youth and recognized by police organsiations,” stated the document.