२१ वीं सदी का भारत आज भी तार्किकता के धरातल पर पिछड़ा हुआ है तथा मीडिया से लेकर बुद्धिजीवियों तक सभी एक समान दकियानूसी बातें और व्यवहार करते पाए जाते हैं.
हम एक ऐसे वैज्ञानिक
, तार्किक और चिन्तनशील भारतीय समाज का स्वप्न  देख रहे हैं जो रोगों से मुक्त, स्वस्थ  तथा ढोंग और अंधविश्वास से परे हो।
कृपया ऐसे सुझाव दीजिये जिन्हें लागू करके यह लक्ष्य पाया जा सके।  आपके सुझावों को हम सरकार के नीति निर्माताओं तक अवश्य भेजेंगें.

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शिक्षा, शेरनी का दूध है ; जो इसको पीयेगा, वह दहाड़ेगा ज़रूर।

                            बाबासाहेब भीमराव अंबेडकर

Future of Panchayati Raj : The S.K. Model

No doubt, the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in India had played a significant role in establishment of democratic values, expansion of right to development, public awareness, upliftment of backward classes, women empowerment, population control, implementation of rural development schemes and seeking public participation in overall development of rural India. The foremost thing is that PRIs have got their organisational and structural base after the enactment of 73rd constitutional amendment and now, they need empowerment. The major drawbacks or problems faced by PRIs are—political malice, castism, lack of financial resources, less participation in Gramsabha and parallel judiciary system adopted by traditional caste panchayats. It is high time to reconsider our PRIs system in new socio-economic perspective so as to make it more effective, efficient and relevant.

Challenges before PRIs

  • The rural socio-economic, political and even geographical scenario is changing very rapidly due to various factors, Entire village environment is getting changed due to fast construction of highways, factories and other infrastructural and I.T. facilities. Higher education and technical institutions are entering in villages. Satellite town have been developed around big cities. The villages which are situated on roadside and having a population of 5-10 thousand are shifting towards town culture. This Rurban (Rural + Urban mixture) civilization and culture is spreading in entire India. Thus, the PRIs are facing new problems.
    One should keep in his mind the urban culture as well as the co-existence of agriculture based economy with availability of T.V., Fridge, Car, Air-conditioner and Computers etc., while thinking about future of PRIs.

  • Public Administration and polity of 21st century are passing through transition phase. This phase is predominantly led by economic liberalization and information technology. The new trends emerging in this phase are decentralization, good governance, privatization, responsive administration, E. governance, administrative ethics, transparency, accountability and public participation (civil society). Freeman says—“The government who governs least is the best.” Here the core theme is not the question of governance but the participation of public in decision making. Hence, we require democratic style of leadership.

  • The mobile culture has forced us to become more active, dynamic and prompt. In fact, an ‘instant (Turant) culture’ has been emerged out as the side effect of mobile phones. The impatient public do not want to face bureaucratic style of working. Can you believe that more than 36 episodes of mishandling with doctors by relatives of patient have taken place during last 2 years in big government hospitals of Rajasthan. Most of the time patient’s relatives have blamed the doctors for delay in starting the treatment. This mega change in mindset of Indians is giving warning signal for all the public institutions. So, the overhauling of PRIs is inevitable.

The Proposed S.K. Model

I am going to present this new model of PRIs with the basic assumption that either we must abolish PRIs or make them full fledged local government. The salient features of S.K. model are as following—

  • The PRIs or rural local government must be characterized and divided in the three popular organs or segment of government i.e. legislature, executive and judiciary.

  • There is no need to have three tier system of PRIs rather two tier system is more effective. At the bottom level there may be Mandal Panchayat and at the district level a Zila Panchayat may be established. The present intermediate Panchayat (Panchayat Samiti) should be abolished. The area of mandal Panchayat will cover 3-5 present Gram Panchayats. In this new model every district will have 7-10 mandal panchayats. There, will be no Gram panchayat or Intermediate Panchayat.

  • The Chairpersons of Mandal Panchayat will elect the president of Zila Panchayat. The Zila Panchayat will look after the district planning, co-ordination and appellate functions. The Member of Parliament and member of legislative assembly will be ex-officio members of Zila Panchayat.

  • There may be a State Panchayat Council under the chairpersonship of chief minister. All the presidents of Zila Panchayat and leader of opposition in state legislative assembly will be members of state panchayat council. This council will decide all the policy matters pertaining to PRIs.

  • There may be a Panchayat Lokpal (ombudsman) to investigate the complaints regarding corruption against PRIs. This body should be given quasi judicial powers.

  • There may be a District List in the seventh schedule in the constitution of India. In this list the taxes and subjects of PRIs may be defined exclusively. This list may comprise of the following compulsory taxes to be imposed by PRIs.

                  Land and building tax
                  Vehicle tax
                  Pilgrim tax
                  Shop, service and business tax
                  Water tax
                  Advertisement tax
                  Entertainment tax
                  Land sale and purchase tax
                  Cattle trading tax
                  Education cess
                  Fair tax
                  Agriculture prosperity tax
                  Ferry tax
                  State or area specific tax
                  Certificate fee
                  Fee for services provided

  • The members of the Mandal Panchayat should be paid a handsome and regular salary (i.e. Rs. 5000 pm) and other allowances as per need. There may be a provision of panchayat local area fund like M.P. or MLA fund. All these expenditures may be met out from own income of Mandal Panchayats.

  • The concept of Gramsabha should be reconsidered. There would be no need of gramsabha when people would elect their representative for mandal panchayat. The general body of mandal panchayat should act like gram sansad.

  • There may be a Panchayat Tribunal to discuss all the disputed matters of panchayats.

Structure of Mandal Panchayat

This model envisages that the mandal panchayat should be divided in to three organs of government. The doctrine of separation of power should be followed strictly.

  • Legislature
    Each member for mandal panchayat may represent population of 500. There may be 50-60 members in a mandal panchayat. These members may contest election on party banner. Chairperson of mandal Panchayat will be elected by these members. Each mandal panchayat may have a leader of opposition. The mandal panchayat chairperson should select his cabinet. General body of mandal panchayat may meet on monthly basis. Special session may also be organised. Mandal panchayat will formulate and approve all the acts and rules for its executive body.
    Geographical area of mandal panchayat should be delimited very carefully keeping in mind the existing revenue, agriculture, police, election, forest and electricity divisions or regions. Overlapping and complexity of administrative units should be avoided. For example, the chaksu block of jaipur district is comprising three assembly constituencies (Bassi, Phagi and Sanganer) at present. On the other hand Arai block of Ajmer district has two M.P. constituencies (Tonk and Ajmer), 3 MLA constituencies (Bhinai, Kekri and Kishangarh), 2 SDM (Kekri and Kishangarh) and 2 Tehsils (Kishangarh and Sarwad). Such type of ambiguity should be removed.

  • Executive
    The chairperson of the mandal panchayat will be head of the mandal panchayat government and will supervise, direct and co-ordinate all the activities. Every mandal panchayat must have a Gram Secretariat. A senior gazetted officer will act as Chief Executive Officer of gram secretariat. The following departments may exist in this secretariat—
    1. Personnel and Finance Department
    2. Revenue, Home and Justice Department
    3. Education Department
    4. Health, Community Sanitation and Water Supply Department
    5. Energy and Engineering Department
    6. Co-operative and Industry Department
    7. Transport and Communication Department
    8. Forest, Agriculture and Irrigation Department
    9. Human Resource Development Department
    (Including Social Welfare and Women and Child Development)

Panchayat Tribunal 

 State Panchayat Council

 Panchayat Ombudsman


     Zila Panchayat


Mandal Panchayat






Gram Sansad



 Nyay Panchayat


Cabinet Departments 

Personnel of line departments, alongwith fund and functions are to be transferred to PRIs. In future they must be treated as personnel of mandal panchayat. It is suggested that a State Development Service may be created. The personnel of mandal panchayat should not be transferred. In special case the Zila Panchayat must consider the request of the personnel and same is to be discussed with both side mandal panchayats.   

  • Judiciary
    Every mandal panchayat must have a Nyay Panchayat comprising of judges and advocates. It should be made mandatory that all the minor land, revenue, agriculture, civil and criminal matters be filed at Nyay Panchayat first. A committee of Nyay Panchayat may comprise of a judge, an advocate, chairperson of mandal panchayat, leader of opposition in mandal panchayat and chief executive officer. Appellate facility against the decisions of Nyay Panchayat should be provided according to the nature of the case.
    As far as the financial resources are concerned, mandal panchayat may have following fund sources—
    1. Taxes included in District List of the Constitution
    2. Grant-in-aid from Central Finance Commission
    3. Grant-in-aid from State Finance Commission
    4. Per capita grant from State Government
    5. Budget from transferred (in) line departments
    6. Fee at mandal panchayat—
                         Birth and Death Certificate
                         Marriage Certificate
                         Land transfer (mutation)
                         Electricity/Water Supply Bill
                         Dead animal auction
                         Other products of Panchayat Land
                         Shop registration
                         Caste/Domicile/Other Certificates
                         Ration Card
                         Approval of House Construction
                         Map Approval and Revision
                         Other auctions
                         Penalties—Encroachment etc.          

    Panchayats may generate their funds from donations given by those civil servants, businessmen or rich persons who are living in cities but originally hail from villages. Such type of donations may be exempted from income tax. The National Commission to review the working of the constitution (2000-02) has suggested that PRIs must be allowed to borrow the loans.
    Regarding decentralized planning, the mandal panchayat may survey its resources, prepare and implement the local development progremmes. District Planning Committee may provide technical assistance to mandal panchayats in this regard. Rajiv Gandhi said—“We must stop planning process from top. Such type of patriarch paradigm is against the democratic setup. An active democracy demands participation.”
    The above mentioned S.K. Model is an attempt to empower PRIs. It is a draft proposal. After a deep study and consultation with all stakeholders it may be finalised according to the need of the hour.      

    Published in Local Government Quarterly (April - June, 2009)

    Subsidiarity and Urban Local Government

Local self government is an indispensable organ of modern welfare states. Urban and rural local bodies in India are based on some basic principles of democracy i.e. decentralization, devolution of funds, functions and functionaries, convergence of services, citizen centricity and subsidiarity. The core idea of subsidiarity is that citizens as sovereigns and stake holders in a democracy are the final decision makers. In broad terms, subsidiarity means the investment of authority at the lowest possible level of an institutional hierarchy. It simply states that a higher entity in the social order may not do for the lower order what it is capable of doing for itself. In other words, a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level. The concept of subsidiarity is applicable not only in the field of government but in other fields i.e. cybernetics and management too. In fact, subsidiarity is one of the features of federalism. Not exactly, but up to some extent it is similar to decentralization, devolution, distributism, localism, neo- localism, public choice theory and urban secession etc.

Conceptual Framework

Although, the term subsidiarity is not a new one but it has become a buzz word recently. The word subsidiarity is derived from the Latin word Subsidiarius and has its origins in Roman Catholic Social Theory (CST). Although, similar principle can be found in Calvinist* thought. The principle of subsidiarity was popularised through an encyclical Rerum Novarum of 1891 by Pope Leo XIII with a view of an attempt to articulate a middle course between the excesses of Laissez-faire capitalism on the one hand and the various forms of communism, which subordinate the individual to the state, on the other hand. This principle was further developed by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Quadragesimo Anno of 1931 and Economic Justice for All by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

This concept or principle is found is several constitutions of the world. The Tenth amendment of constitution of United States of America (1791) clarify the concept and utility of subsidiarity. This amendment envisages that—“The powers not delegated to the united states by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

It is European Union Law, by which the concept of subsidiarity is popularised. Since, it is a fundamental principle of European Union Law, the E.U. may only act (i.e. make law) where member states agree that action of individual countries is insufficient. This principle was established by the ‘Treaty of Maastricht’ signed on 7th February 1992 and came in to force from 1st November, 1993. The Article-5 of the treaty establishing European community says—

“The community shall act within the limits of the powers conferred upon it by this Treaty and of the objectives assigned to it therein.

In areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Community shall take action, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved by the Community.

Any action by the Community shall not go beyond what is necessary to achieve the objectives of this Treaty.”

Article-9 of the European constitution envisages—

“Under the principle of subsidiarity, in areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence the Union shall act only if and insofar as the objectives of the intended action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, either at central level or at regional and local level, but can rather, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved at Union level.”

These provisions clarify that the principle of subsidiarity applies to those areas where the community does not have exclusive competence, the principle delineating those areas where the community should and should not act. As stated earlier, subsidiarity is a multidimensional concept which includes social, spiritual, legal and political factors. Generally there are four criterion to explain the contents of subsidiarity. These are—

1.                  Sufficiency Criterion—It believes that the action must be necessary because actions of individuals or locals alone will not achieve the objectives of the action.

2.                  Benefit Criterion—According to this criterion, action must bring added value over and above what could be achieved by individual or locals action alone.

3.                  Close to Citizen Criterion—It emphasizes on community participation in terms of the involvement of people in decision making.

4.                  Autonomy Criterion—Under this criterion it is observed or ensured that the action should secure greater freedom of the individuals.

As mentioned in the sixth reports of Second Administrative Reforms Commission, Government of India, the application of the subsidiarity principle has three great advantages in practical terms—

1.         Local decision making improves efficiency, promotes self reliance of the local level, encourages competition and nurtures innovation. The demonstration effects of successful best practices will ensure rapid spread of good innovations and there will also be greater ownership of programmes and practices by the local communities.

2.         Democracy is based on three fundamental assumptions—all citizens are equal irrespective of station and birth, the citizen is the ultimate sovereign, and the citizen has the capacity to decide what is in the best interest. Only when these principles are put in practice can a democratic system derive its full legitimacy. No doubt, subsidiarity is the concrete expression of these foundations of a democratic society.

3.         Once decision making and its consequences are integrally linked at the local level, people can better appreciate that hard choices need to be made. Such awareness promotes greater responsibility, enlightened citizenship and maturing of democracy.

Thus, the concept of subsidiarity relies on that—“needs are best understood and satisfied by people who are closest to them.”

Global Scenario

Democratisation inevitably includes some input of decentralization and it is the most common theme in today’s governmental reforms. Devolution of powers is not merely a phenomenon of public management reform in emerging or developing democracies. In fact, it is prevalent in mature democracies as well. France, “The country of “Classical Administration” had a centralised administration, but this basic characteristic of the country has been replaced by decentralization. Although, the act of 10 August, 1871 introducing direct election by popular vote of departmental councils and the Act of 5 April, 1884 on municipal organisation were treated as milestone in this regard, but it was not until 1982 that a genuine decentralisation policy emerged, in three phases i.e. defferre laws devolving significant powers to local and regional bodies in 1982-83; legislation expanding the first laws on decentralisation and incorporating decentralisation into the territorial organisation of the state and constitutional reform passed in 2003 on the decentralised organisation of the state.1 The latter reform ensures the role of local and regional bodies permanent by enshrining the principle that “the organisation of the state is decentralised” in the Article-1 of the constitution of France, and by including the regions alongside the municipalities and overseas departments and territories in the administrative subdivisions of France referred to in the constitution.

Similarity, Japan, a country known for its highly centralised and rigid bureaucracy, has initiated a special scheme for promoting decentralisation in 1992. Initially, thirty municipalities were allowed for greater involvement in the design of social services on a pilot basis. Further the government of Japan had passed a law on promotion of decentralisation in 1995. Since then, a special unit in prime minister’s office is looking after all the plans, policies and initiatives regarding devolution of powers to local bodies. It is interesting to note that municipal bodies in Japan are free to have their own currency parallel to national currency Yen.

Switzerland, the land of direct and true democracy has the highest claim. The principle of Swiss confederation’s democracy is to be communal before being cantonal, and to be cantonal before being federal. The basis of political authority is that of local autonomy and the popular will is formed from the bottom upward.2

As a rule there are four federal, cantonal and communal elections held every year and it is the power of the referendum which forces the government and the parliament alike to present bills which are likely to be accepted by the majority of the citizens. Landsgemeinde or annual assembly of all citizens makes laws and elects officers, executive and administrative. In other words the Swiss people directly exercise their superior power in an annual open air meeting, instead of through elected representatives.

The Indian Experience

Although the concept of subsidiarity has not been institutionalised as such in India but various efforts and innovations reveal its existence and utility throughout the country. ‘Bhagidari’ the most popular movement of Delhi State Government was initiated in December, 1998 with a philosophy of responsive and participative governance. Under ‘Bhagidari’ programme a great role was performed by NGOs, Resident Welfare Associations (RWA) and Market and Traders Associations (MTAs) of Delhites. This innovation is based on the philosophy that day-to-day issues and problems of common man should be resolved at local level with a proper and effective approach of public participation. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Delhi Development Authority, New Delhi Municipal Council, Delhi Vidyut Board, Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Police, Department of Environment and Forest, and Industries Department etc. became the partner of this movement. The Bhagidari Cell in Chief Minister’s Office is co-ordinating all the decentralization process and activities of this movement. The RWAs and MTAs have started taking up collective payment of water bills, observing water leakage, distributing water through tankers, taking steps for rain water harvesting, replacing old or leaking pipelines, planting trees, ensuring colony’s security, and running anti plastic and anti littering campaign in their respective area.

On the other hand, Advanced Locality Management (ALM) is an initiative originally taken by the residents of Joshi Lane in Ghatkopar area of Mumbai in 1996-97. It was in October, 1996 that the a few residents of Joshi Lane decided to get rid of their worries about filthy surrounding in their lane. The enthusiastic residents formed a Street Committee (SC) and chose the way to solve the problems generated by themselves instead of putting blame on Municipal Corporation. Later, the SC approached Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and jointly started working on garbage collection, cleanliness, beautification and vermiculture and other aspects.3 After involvement of some NGOs and other government agencies the ALM movement was spread all over the Mumbai. Up to April, 2002 a total number of 1000 ALM societies had been registered and were actively engaged in segregation of garbage and vermiculture activities across the city. Likewise a unique example was set by citizens of Alandur, a township south of Chennai by raising a fund around Rs. 110 million. It was the initiative taken by the community and their enthusiasm which brought the completion of underground sewage project.

It is a matter of pride that Shipra Path Police Station of Jaipur city has been declared world’s number one police station by Altus Global Alliance in April, 2007 on the basis ( Criterion ) of detention conditions, equal treatment of the public,transparency and accountability and community orientation. It is quite worthy to mention here, that this police station is playing a very positive role in motivating the society for managing its own security problems. A few sectorwise resident welfare associations are maintaining law and order in their locality with the help of this police station. Such type of activities will flourish the concept of subsidiarity. Since, the Government of India has passed “Private Security Agencies (Regulation) Act, 2005”, it is hoped that subsidiarity will be actualised in Indian police system. In this regard the concept of “Community Policing” may also play a time needed role. As defined by Linda Royster Beito—“Community Policing or neighbourhood policing is a policing strategy and philosophy based on the notion that community interaction and support can help control crime, with community members helping to identify suspects, and bring problems to the attention of police.”4 Inintially, this new policing paradigm was supported by Sir Robert Peel the conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during 1834-35 and 1841-46 who came up with nine principles of policing that form the basis of modern policing. One of these principles is in favour of community participation and subsidiarity. Tom Potter, the Mayor of the city of Portland, Oregon in the USA, is also known as big fan of community policing, who withdrew the Portland Police Bureau from FBI. During his tenure as police chief of Portland he developed the Philosophy of Community Policing. The Kudumbsri or Neighbourhood Groups (Self Help Groups) are working effectively as PIA- Programme Implementing Agency  in Kerala and other parts of southern India.

Second ARC’s View

The Second Administrative Reforms Commission headed by Mr. Virappa Moily has advocated for the popular expansion of subsidiarity, in its sixth report on “An inspiring journey in to the Future.” The commission is of the considered view that a local government reforms package must be informed by the principle of subsidiarity. Only then, can citizen—Sovereignty by real and meaningful and democracy will acquire content beyond structures and institutions. The commission has proposed three tiers of urban local bodies. These are—

•           Municipal Council/Corporation (by whatever name it is called)

•           Ward Committees

•           Area Committees or Sabhas.

To ensure people’s participation in their governance one wad sabha in each ward or corporate’s constituency is proposed by the commission. The role of ward sabha is equivalent of the Gram Sabha of villages. The basic functions and responsibilities i.e. control over street lighting, sanitation, water supply drainage, road maintenance, maintenance of school buildings and hospital, local markets, parks and playgrounds are proposed to be given to these ward sabhas. Thus the concept of subsidiarity may be visualised and operationalised. The commission is also of the opinion that the concept of neighbourhood groups looking after their own affairs within a limited mandate needs to be explored.5 The model Nagar Raj Bill  drafted by Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India also envisages the establishment of Area Sabha to institutionalise citizen’s participation in municipal functions i.e. setting priorities and budgeting provisions etc.

The commission has laid a greater emphasis on the principle of subsidiarity. Very first recommendation of sixth report of the commission says that Article-243G of constitution of India (regarding powers, authority and responsibilities of Panchayats) should be amended as follows—

“Subject to the provisions of this constitution, the legislature of a state shall, by law, vest a Panchayat at the appropriate level with such powers and authority as are necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self government in respect of all functions which can be performed at local level including the function in respect of the matters listed in the Eleventh Schedule.”

Further, the commission suggests that Article-243W (regarding powers, authority and responsibilities of municipalities) should be similarly amended to empower urban local bodies. The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC, 2002) had also favoured the actual and mandatory devolution of powers and functions to local bodies.    


The Poet-Philosopher–Scholar of Organised Life, Prof. Warren G. Bennis describes three elements of an organised society.6 These are:

1. Smallness

2. Temporariness

3. Participation

Although it may be difficult to digest above mentioned three elements as basics of an organised society but the changing contour of 21st century’s society supports Bennis. Perhaps the developing nations and their traditional closed society are not looked to be changed their mindset to accept the reality. The new trends emerged in the fields of economy, polity and administration are demanding debureaucratisation and decentralization in government machinery as well as greater participation of people at all levels of decision making. The concepts of New Public Management, Public Choice Theory, State Minimalism and LPG are interlinked and aimed to efficiency, effectiveness, economy, rationality and ecological orientation of all the activities of state.

Although the concept of subsidiarity may be considered as theoretical one but the examples cited in this article are enough to prove its practicability and utility. However, a question of million is that “How is it possible to execute the principle of subsidiarity where the present local self bodies cannot be called “Self Government”? In my opinion, the local self government in India are directly concerned with the power distribution of state government but the concept of subsidiarity is primarily related with community’s  day to day requirements and basic services. The sovereign community does not need ‘top down authority’, rather it is in the position to strengthen state or union government on the basis of ‘bottom up authority’. The local self governments or agencies are “power Seeker” but the subsidiarity follows the path of power provider.

In 1837, O’ Sullivan wrote—“The best government is that which governs least……the government should be confined to the administration of justice, for the protection of the natural equal rights of the citizen, and the preservation of the social order. In all other respects, the voluntary principle, the principle of freedom . …….. affords the true golden rule.”

In fact, subsidiarity is the future of local governments, and even mankind too. Afterall subsidiarity leads to solidarity.


1.      Kamarek, Elaine Ciulla, Globalization and Public Administration in Nye, S. Joseph and Donahue, John D. (ed.), Governance in a Globalizing World, Washington, Brookings Institution Press, 2000

2.      Kapur, Anup Chand, Select Constitutions, New Delhi, S. Chand and Co. Ltd., 1999

3.      Srinivasan Vijaya, Citizens Participation in Local Governance in Institutionalisation of Citizens Participation in Civic Governance, Mumbai, Regional Centre for Urban and Environmental Studies, All India Institute of Local Self Government, 2007

4.      Linda Royster Beito, Leadership Effectiveness in Community Policing, Bristol, Wyndham Hall Press, 1999

5.      Sixth Report on Local Governance, Second Administrative Reforms Commission, Government of India, 2007

6.      Bennis, Warren and Slater, Phillip, The Temporary Society, New York, Harper and Row Publishers, 1968

Published in Indian Journal of Public Administration (Oct.-Dec. 2008)


Changing Face of Indian Police


Not only in Rajasthan but all over India the image of police reflects its colonial character, which was developed for the interest of British rulers. Even after Independence the face of Indian police remained unchanged, and unfortunately it has become synonymous with cruel, inhumane, corrupt and inactive mechanism. In India, the police is popularly perceived as a power wielder with an enforcement role. In such a situation, it is almost unbelievable that an Indian police station is declared world’s number one or ideal police station. But it has happened and Shipra Path Police Station of Jaipur city is the winner of ‘Police Stations Visitors Week’, organized for the first time in 2006 by Altus Global Alliance.

 General Profile

Established in March, 1996, the Shipra Path Police Station falls under administrative purview of Jaipur city (East) police district. This police station is located in outskirts area of Jaipur city in Asia’s largest housing colony Mansarovar, which is developed by a government agency.

 Almost half of the population and area of this colony comes under the purview of Shipra Path Police Station. A total of 2.7 lac population of this police station is living in about 45 sq. km. area. There are two dozen higher education institutions established in this area, and highly educated government servants and professionals are the owner of the houses, built by Rajasthan Housing Board. There are eight villages situated near the city area are also served by this police station. The forty percent of the population is Hindu and Hindu-Sindhi community with their roots in Pakistan, while Muslims are marginal at 2 per cent. Labourer and nomadic community accounts for a few thousands. The building layout of this police station is according to the implemented standards for Rajasthan police, in the newly constructed police stations. There are 20 rooms in main police station building and 13 staff quarters flats, with a small temple in the premise of police station. There are two lawns and hundreds of trees and plants giving pleasant look to the station. Chairs, benches, sofa and other facilities are in good condition. All the rooms are furnished with paint, polish, curtain, chicks, carpet, aluminium glass window with enough natural light and ventilation. A special kitchen or mess and toilet facilities for police personnel are in excellent condition. This police station is well equipped with jeep, wireless, armament, telephones (2) and other essential things. There are nine computers in this police station and all are in working condition. There is a fountain made with marble stone at the central area of the station near to specific place for public meeting. The boundary wall of the station is decorated with fancy lights. There is a ramp for disabled and old persons. Separate parking place are available for police and public. Waiting hall and entertainment facilities are available for visitors. At every corner of the station, one can easily spot ‘dust bins’.

There are about 40 posts sanctioned viz. one S.H.O., 3 Sub Inspectors, 11 Assistant Sub Inspectors, 3 Head Constables and 20 Constables. There is a separate women cell headed by a lady assistant sub inspector.

Reforms Process

Before 2003, the Shipra Path Police Station was an ordinary police station, notorious for regular incidence of theft. During Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-07) revamping of police programme was initiated. But the sea-change came during two and half year tenure of Mr. Sunil Punia, S.H.O. of this police station. Mr. Punia joined this police station on first day of October, 2004. He was very disappointed with the negative and notorious image of police. He often thought- “Can we change the image of police? Can I make my police station an ideal one?” During this thought provoking process, he decided to take co- operation from his subordinates, superiors and public. Meanwhile, Vidhayakpuri police station of Jaipur city got ISO : 9001–2001 certificate in November, 2005. Then in March, 2006, D.G.P. of Rajasthan, Mr. A.S. Gill gave instructions to popular and competent police stations to improve their standards upto the international level. In this regard, Mr. Punia started his efforts to receive ISO certificate.


Mr. Punia also decided that he would identify the problems and expectations of each stakeholder and after identification team effort would be made to receive ISO certificate. Mr. Punia believes, that- “To handle yourself use the mind and to handle others use your heart.” Because people can be changed through hearts only.


As a first step, 41 year-old Mr. Punia organized a meeting with his subordinates and sought their co- operation in the police reform process. He urged all his subordinates that it is a high time to change ourselves because the entire socio-economic as well as administrative systems are getting changed very rapidly. During the meeting , he invited free and frank suggestions, opinions and innovative ideas from his subordinates to change the face of police. The major problems and hurdles of police personnels were identified and categorized. Mr. Punia made a promise to all his subordinates that he would try his best to solve these identified problems through the support of his superiors and public participation. He also made a commitment that his decisions and leadership would always remain objective and unbiased.

After holding the meeting with his subordinates, Mr. Punia came to know the basic problems of police personnels viz. mismanaged mess, non availability of furniture and stationary, long duty hours, non- co-operation by public and politico- administrative pressures, etc. He knew that without solving these problems the satisfaction level of his subordinates would not be raised. After a week of long thinking and table exercise he chalked out a plan of action. During this process, he remained neutral in all aspects and did not take a single decision under pressure of his superiors or political leaders. He followed the rule of law so that nobody could raise a question against his action. He knew that subordinates watch, follow and evaluate the behaviour of their leader.

In the next phase, Mr. Punia discussed his plan of action with his superiors viz. Circle officer (Dy. S.P.) and superintendent of police (Jaipur City, East). He requested for their approval and co-operation to accomplish the herculean task. The entire reform process of this police station is the result of a good team of superiors including, Mr. A.S. Gill, D.G.; Mr. O.P. Galhotra, I.G.; Mr. V.K. Singh, S.P.; Mr. Sanjay Shotriya, A.S.P. and Mr. Gyan Chand Yadav, Dy. S.P. who motivated and supported Mr. Punia and his subordinates.

During various informal meetings, Mr. Punia requested his superiors not to put undue pressure regarding disposal of various cases because such type of practice could derail the entire process of police reforms in his police station. After getting green signal from his superiors, Mr. Punia organized a meeting of Community Liaison Group (C.L.G.) of his police station. Mr. Punia expressed his mission and plan of action in front of C.L.G. and invited their views and suggestions to make Shipra Path an ideal police station. C.L.G. members were of the view that increasing incidence of theft and rude behaviour of police personnel are the basic cause of negative image of police in the nearby society. As per the suggestion of C.L.G., Mr. Punia approached the sectorwise citizens welfare associations through their respective beat constables. Mr. Punia also gathered the information and trends regarding all types of crimes in various parts of the localities. In order to make police public-friendly, Mr. Punia, himself or his representative started attending monthly meeting of citizens welfare associations. The police personnels made promise for safety of public and their assets, but at this stage hardly anybody believed the words of police.

At the onset of implementation phase of Mr. Punia’s plan of action, the punch line (motto) of Rajasthan police “Faith in Masses : Fear amongst Criminals ” (Aamjan Mein Vishwas : Apradhiyo Mein Bhay) was displayed on the police station. The conventional guard with a gun and heavy moustache was removed from the entrance of police station, instead a reception counter with a computer and a police personnel trained in public relations was opened. The basic facilities i.e.-chairs, table, sofa, cold water, fan, television, newspapers, first aid box were provided at this counter. All the necessary information, telephone numbers, legal processes, rights of public and general guidelines were put on the walls of the reception room. All the police personnels of this police station started changing their attitude towards common man or visitor of the station. They became more polite and co-operative with public. The tendency of not registering F.I.R. was changed. Every visitor or applicant to police station was being treated properly. It is important to mention here that most of the police stations try not to register. F.I.Rs because it increases the numbers of crime in their respective area. In fact, the increasing number of crimes is not due to the failure of police only but the other social, economical, political, administrative and judicial factors are also responsible. Altus Global Alliance does not consider the increasing number of crimes during the assessment of performance of police. Two boxes—‘complaint box’ and ‘suggestion box’ have been placed at the entrance, if a visitor has any problem or grievance he many drop his complaint in the ‘complaint box’ and suggestions or good ideas can be put in to ‘suggestion box’. Both the boxes are opened regularly and all the applications are recorded. The S.H.O. with the help of C.L.G. ensures the proper action on each application found in these boxes. The law students studying in nearby colleges also provide legal advice to visitors. Almost every street wall of the service area of Shipra Path Police Station endorsed first hand information regarding the name of beat officer and his mobile number alongwith telephone numbers of police station.

Such type of efforts and reforms attracted the attention of public and media. The opinion of public about working of police was changed. The ‘Visitors Register’ available at reception counter is an authentic document of appreciation. At this stage, the public provided helping hands to police station. The basic amenities viz. lawns, plants, water cooler, desert cooler, chairs, sofa, tables, aluminium glass doors, chicks, carpet, marble fountain, first aid box, fancy lights, shelter, freeze and television sets available in this police station are donated by local peoples. There is a set process to accept public contribution in this police station. The construction of ramp and renovation of kitchen (mess) with a dining table is also provided by local community. Rainbow telecommunication company bears the responsibility of cleanliness and maintenance of entire premise of the station. Due to installation of 9 computers, 3 televisions, one water cooler, 5 desert coolers, 12 fans, 30 fancy lights, one freeze and other electric equipments, the consumption of electricity was expected to escalate, but because of a habit of control on misuse of electricity the electric bill remained unchanged.

The other efforts of Mr. Punia were related with human resource development. He started Yoga and meditation for police personnels to release their mental tension. Almost all his subordinates were sent to in-service training programmes conducted by police headquarters, police lines, police academy or other institutions. Since, Mr. Punia had identified the problems, needs, merits and demerits of each subordinate, he started to depute his subordinate according to his respective caliber. The scientific rule of division of work was followed. The entire internal administration of the station was divided in to six main sections viz.- Administration, Records, Maalkhana, Night patrolling, Communication and Other miscellaneous duties. Each section was supervised by a head constable, so most of the complaints regarding overlapping of duties and non-compliance of various activities were reduced by proper distribution of work. Every room was numbered and the name of the personnel sitting in it was displayed on the wall of the rooms, so that every visitor could find police personnel easily. Mr. Punia made it mandatory that tea or coffee will be prepared at station’s mess only and no tea will be brought from outside of this police station. During this reform process, all the police personnels decided voluntarily that they will not smoke in the station. As a new convention, the name of month’s best employee was displayed on the notice board of the police station.

The system of night patrolling by police was strengthened to ensure public safety. Along with police personnel duty, community policing system was also initiated. Under the ‘Civil Police Officer Scheme’ one or two guards were deployed in each sector (muhalla). These guards are trained and controlled by this police station and paid by local community (Rs. 15 per household per month). Basic informations of each household were stored in the police records. A special database record of domestic servants and tenants with their photographs was also created. The Shipra Path Police Station had developed a special format named- “know your neighbour”. In this printed format, every household was requested to fill up house number, name of owner, address, telephone numbers, working place, vehicle model and number of his/her 8 neighbourers. (3 in front, 3 in backside and 2 in lateral). One copy of this format was submitted to police station and another was kept by householder himself. These exercises helped the police in controlling crimes and solving  pending cases.

Meanwhile, an innovative scheme was launched by D.G. of Rajasthan Police, Mr. A.S. Gill. Under this ‘‘Case Officer Scheme’’ the popular or notorious cases were taken up. The case officer scheme ensures integrated efforts of police, prosecution agency and judiciary. The ultimate aim of this scheme is to ensure prompt and proper decision of the case, so that society may receive a good message. This police station has solved many popular cases under this scheme. It is needless to say that these efforts of the police have helped in changing their image. In this series of reforms, the next step was to manage ‘Maalkhana’ (Store). Like other police stations, the Maalkhana of this station was full of unlabelled or mishandled material. The evidential material viz. clothes, armaments, documents, samples for forensic laboratory, etc. were collected and categorised in a scientific manner. Each sample or evidence was labeled with name, case number, F.I.R. number, date and year and other relevant details.

All the essential steps were taken to avoid destruction of the material by seepage, rodent and termite. Likewise, the other records available in various rooms in the station were categorised according to the subject. Each almirah and its rack was numbered and registers with their concerning files were put there. For example, the rack number one in the first room of the station having 10 files: I-Case Office Scheme File, II- Public Participation, III-C.L.G., IV-Household Survey, V-Hard Core Criminals, VI-Priorities of Police, VII- Mutual Settlements, VIII-Women Desk, IX-Domestic Servants, Drivers and Chowkidar File and X-Tenants Proforma. Records available in other rooms were categorised yearwise, casewise, crimewise or subjectwise whatever the feasibility. All the old records were stitched with a hard cover register and properly labelled.

So far as detention conditions are concerned, there are separate latrine and bathroom for men and women. Measures have been taken to avoid any type of accidents in the custody room. The rights of the person under police custody (detenee) are mentioned on the poster, put on the wall of the custody room. There is a separate room for investigation or interrogation. In this police station, third degree is not used but socio-psychological approach is being followed to extricate the facts from criminals. The minor cases are being settled down through mutual compromise (Raazinama). These types of case are also kept on the record of the police station.

This police station is full of informative posters, notice boards and pamplets i.e. punchline of Rajasthan police, priorities of police, salient features of an ideal police station, citizens charter, anticorruption mechanism, right to information, duties of police, process to approach Ombudsman (Lokaukt), free legal aid process, policy of police quality, security measures for detenee, progress of Shipra Path Police Station, the identified spots of vehicle theft and prevention of violence against women. On the other hand, some motivating posters like eye donation, prohibition of dowry, child labour and traffic safety are also displayed on the walls of the station. The visitor’s book is full of comments by senior level police officers, academicians, administrators, voluntary agencies’ representatives, foreigners, I.I.T. professionals, media persons and common man. No doubt, this police station had gone through a dramatic change during 2005-06 due to commitment and team efforts.

Now comes ‘Police Stations Visitors Week’. The Altus Global Alliance, an international voluntary body, organized this event from 29 October to 4 November, 2006. A total of 471 police stations from 23 countries participated in this event. The entire staff of Shipra Path Police Station was confident to compete at international level because they had fantastic physical infrastructure, public participation, transparency and commitment, motivation by superiors, a good image in local community and above all their confidence. It was enough to be declared as a model police station. Altus chose two partner organizations in India to co- ordinate and implement the event in the country. A memorandum of understanding was signed between Altus and these partner organizations. Nine participating organizations were also chosen to visit the police stations. A kit (set of questions and assessment proforma) comprising 20 questions or criteria was provided to participating organizations to assess the police stations. The kit or its questions used during the police stations visitors week were based on the Likert Scale, in which the possible answers vary from 1 to 5. The scoring was done as follows:

1. Totally inadequate (20 points)

2. Inadequate (40 points)

3. Adequate (60 points)

4. More than adequate (80 points)

5. Excellent (100 points)

The questions were classified according to a scoring scale which was based on the calculation of percentiles20, 40, 60 and 80 (resulting in 36, 52, 68 and 84, respectively) in a distribution of possible average scores varying from 20 to 100. As a result, the classification categories are:

 Average Score Category

Over 84 - Excellent

Over 68 untill 84 - More than adequate

Over 52 untill 68 - Adequate

Over 36 untill 52 - Inadequate

Untill 36 - Totally inadequate

Finally, the average score in each observation area was the simple average of the four questions. The final score was the simple average of the five areas, Viz.- Community orientation, Physical conditions, Equal treatment of the public, Transparency and Accountability and Detention conditions.

Team leaders were provided with a short training that guided them in leading visitors around the station, writing the narrative report and providing the filled questionnaires to the organizers. The filled questionnaires and narrative reports were uploaded on a specially prepared secure website and scores automatically generated. Visits were verified through partner organizations and filled questionnaires were collected and checked with the uploaded scores. Visitors appointed by participating organizations interviewed and discussed the issues with public, observed everything in police station, made discussions with all staff members and their superiors and checked all the records and equipments. They visited all the places of this police station too. Finally the team leader to Shipra Path Police Station remarked, “We had no difficulty in reaching police station as there were plenty of signboards on the way. On reaching there we were surprised at the cleanliness as it was more clean than a good house or a hotel and did not look like a government police station building. The filing system is flawlessly unbelievable. At our request, a three- year old record of a complaint was located within four minutes. There was a ramp for elder and handicapped people which is very rare in government offices. We had a wonderful experience on our visit. We were in the police station for 2 hours and 10 minutes and we failed to find any shortcomings or negative point.”

Further, the report says, “A number of good practices could be traced in this police station. These include the overarching organization and streamlining of police station operation via the International Standards Organizations, ISO: 9001-2001, a systems quality management procedure adapted from the industry, mobile interactive office (beat bags), specially prepared information charts and posters, ongoing training of staff, selection of most efficient cop every month to motivate staff performance, services for women, referrals services for victims, detailed display of station performance vis-à-vis crime and prevention, number of community-police groups that have regular and recorded meetings. There were separate clean clothing for detainees, rules in cells and record of every item/procedure in the station. The confidence of the station police staff in their work can be gauged from the statement (in response to the state police chief that he would grant out of turn promotion to 150 best performing constables from the state with a total strength of 20,000 plus constables in 711 stations), the30 constables in Shipra Path Police Station have told their seniors that they need to identify 120 more since30 will be from their station itself.”

After overall evaluation, the Shipra Path Police Station was declared the best police station of Rajasthan (10 competitors), then the best in the country (105 competitors) next it got top position in Asia (167 competitors).

Assessment of Shipra Path Police Station on Five Indicators

Indicators Scores

Community Orientation - 99.67

Physical Conditions - 100.00

Equal Treatment of the Public - 98.33

Transparency and Accountability - 100.00

Detention Conditions - 100.00

Average Overall Score - 99.00

At the last stage, one police station was to be declared the best among five police stations each from five continents (Regions).

In final round, the assessment report was not only the criteria for selection. At this stage, an expert on police science visited regional topper police station. Mr. Richard Aborne, an American expert, visited Shipra Path Police Station. He was stunned to see such an excellent, clean and public friendly police station in a developing country. He submitted his report to the Altus. In first week of April, 2007, a five, member jury was constituted to judge the best police station of the world. Before taking final decision, every regional topper police station was asked to present the process and efforts of their reforms and best practices of the station. 

Final Stage Competitors: Name of Police Station, Country and Continent Participated

1. Illupeju, Logos, Nigeria, Africa

2. Shipra Path, Jaipur, India, Asia

3. Kanashskiy, Govd, Kanash, Russia, Europe

4. 9th Police Station, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Latin America

5. Palmdale, Los Angeles, U.S.A., North America

Mr. Punia made presentation in front of the jury and representatives of four other top police stations. A question-answer session was also held. Mr. Punia gave satisfactory answers to all the queries raised by the jury and other police stations’ heads.

Finally, came the day of April 5th, 2007. Shipra Path Police Station was declared world’s best police station. The mayor of Hague conferred the award to Mr. Punia. The D.G. of Rajasthan Police granted out of turn promotion to30 employees of Shipra Path Police Station. Next month the ISO: 900-2001 certificate was given to this station for maintaining international quality standards. In June, 2007 Mr. Punia was transferred to Vaishali Nagar Police Station in Jaipur city to extend the best practices. On the eve of 61st Independence Day, the Governor of Rajasthan Mr. A.R. Kidwai provided a ‘Pistol’ to Mr. Punia as an honour of the best police officer. Mr. Ashok Chouhan, the successor of Mr. Punia says with determination, “to achieve a good image and best work performance may be a simple task sometimes, but the maintenance of the standard is always a tedious job. We assure you that we will keep the Indian Flag high.” The police personnels of Shipra Path Police Station say loudly- Chak de India. 

Police Station Visitors Week, 2006 in India: Some facts

Police Stations Participated - 105

States and Cities

Punjab : 65

Andhra Pradesh : 10

Chandigarh : 10

Rajasthan : 10

Meghalaya : 10

Team Leaders - 106

Visitors Received by the Stations - 396

Average Overall Score - 69.15

Community Orientation - 74.66

Physical Conditions - 67.49

Equal Treatment - 62.00

Public Transparency - 75.33

Accountability Detention Conditions - 66.29

Partner Organizations were Aide et Action, India, North-Eastern Institute of Development and Participating Organizations were Women Cell (Ludhiana, Jaalandhar) Commission Agents Association (Bathinda, Patiala), Punjab Local Self Bodies (Panchayat/ Municipal Councilors) (Amristsar, Hoshiarpur), Punjab Community Policing Resource Centre (Khanna, Patiala, Amritsar, Jalandhar Hoshiarpur), Punjab Social Care and Development Society, Chandigarh, Resident Welfare Committee (Sector 36, 17, 39, 34, Mani Majra), Chandigarh, Market Welfare Committee (Industrial Area, Sector 11, 31), Chandigarh, Community Liaisoning Groups (C.L.G.), Rajasthan, North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong

Altus Global Alliance and its Working

Altus Global Alliance is an international voluntary agency established in April, 2004. The headquarter of this organization is at Hague, Netherlands. This organization works in all continents with the help of its6 member organizations and 2 associate member organizations. There are 300 representative or employees of Altus working all over the world. Altus places special emphasis on police accountability and the quality of police oversight, serving as a source of knowledge and innovation for government officials, human rights activists and citizens around the world, concerned about the effective and fair control of policing.

Altus had prepared a kit to promote police reforms under the aegis of Ford Foundation’s ‘Democratic Police Programme in 2002. This kit was tested in 10 countries including India. The kit comprised structured questions and observation indicators for the assessment of functioning of police. After testing this kit in 10 countries, the feedback received by Altus and same was analysed in a meeting held at Saintiago, Chile in November, 2002. The kit was modified in 2004 and 2005. Again it was tested in few countries. The Altus management board approved this kit in 2006 and decided to organize ‘Police Stations Visitors Week’ first time in world history. Altus envisaged that Police Stations Visitors Week would focus on sharing good practices, promoting international standards and building positive relationships between police agencies, NGOs and the community.

This kit was translated into 17 major languages in2006. During Police Stations Visitors Week (29 October to 4 November, 2006) it was used to assess the working of police stations. A total of 471 police stations from 23 countries participated in this event, assisted 32 partner organizations, 44 participating organizations and 42 police agencies helped Altus to organize this international event. The kit developed by Altus put stress on five major area of working of police. These are:

Community Orientation

Physical Conditions

Equal Treatment of the Public

Transparency and Accountability

Detention Conditions.

The assessment and evaluation of the participating police stations was done on the basis of observation, interaction, feedback, filling up of questionnaire, survey of records and opinion on experts. There were four levels of competition viz. state, country, region (continent) and the world. This event was started in October, 2006 and ended in April, 2007.

Participating Countries (2006)

1. Belgium

2. Benin

3. Brazil

4. Canada

5. Chile

6. Germany

7. Ghana

8. Hungary

9. India

10. Latvia

11. Liberia

12. Malaysia

13. Mexico

14. The Netherlands

15. Niger

16. Nigeria

17. Peru

18. Russia

19. South Africa

20. South  Korea

21. Sri Lanka

22. United Kingdom

23. United States

Published in The Indian Police Journal, Oct. - Dec. 2007


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