If the NCRB data is any indication,it seems more and more educated people are turning to crime in Maharashtra. Since 2000,an analysis of the National Crime Records Bureaus data shows,state prisons have seen a 140 per cent growth in the number of graduate convicts way above the national average. The number of educated undertrials too has substantially increased by 454 per cent.
The number of graduate convicts in Maharashtra has increased from 135 in 2000 to 325 in 2012. Nationally,graduate convicts have increased by 78.17 per cent. The state has also seen a 84 per cent increase in the number of post-graduate convicts. Nationally,the number has increased by 68.62 per cent (see box). Interestingly,the total number of convicts during the same period has increased by only 31.4 per cent in Maharashtra and 99.74 per cent nationally.
This steady increase means graduate and post-graduate convicts,who earlier made up only 3.24 per cent of the total convicts,now constitute 5.49 per cent of the total population in state prisons. In 2000,graduates and post-graduates made up only 3.56 per cent of the states total undertrial population. The figure is almost 9.50 per cent now.
Sociologists have blamed this trend on the rising consumerism in the country,with making quick money in as short time as possible becoming an acceptable cultural goal for many people.
Individual aspirations have changed in urban India. Opportunities for committing financial crimes,corporate fraud and cyber crimes like credit card fraud are abound today in an economy that has opened up but not been able to put effective regulatory systems in place to check corruption and fraud, said Dr Vijay Raghavan,associate professor and chairperson,Centre for Criminology and Justice,Tata Institute of Social Sciences. He added that the trend of educated criminals was likely to increase in the years to come.