What the FAQ: Do 638 police stations in India really have no phone lines?

The report titled Police – Training, Modernisation, Reforms is a set of recommendations given by the committee to the Ministry of Home Affairs. All the data presented is as of January 1, 2020

Big numbers on a piece of paper represent a story of very real people and their predicaments. One such number was revealed in the Rajya Sabha on February 10. As many as 648 police stations in the country do not have telephones, according to a report tabled in Rajya Sabha by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs headed by senior Congress MP Anand Sharma.

Do so many police stations really not have telephone connections?
The report titled 'Police – Training, Modernisation, Reforms’ is a set of recommendations given by the committee to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The data states that Uttar Pradesh, which is one of the largest states, did not have phone connection in 75 police stations, while Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab — sensitive border states — collectively have 148 police stations without a phone connection and out of that 53 have no wireless sets or mobile phones. Individually, J&K has 79 police stations without a phone connection and Punjab has 69 police stations without a phone connection. All the data presented is as of January 1, 2020.

What did the committee members say?
This has not been taken well by the committee as it pointed out that even in this day and age there are police stations that lack basic communication services. The committee said, "In 21st century India, there are police stations without telephones or proper wireless connectivity especially in many sensitive states like Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Punjab." The committee said that in spite of this the government went on to reward some of these states with performance incentives in the year 2018-19.

How disastrous can this be?
As prices of mobile phone devices have dropped significantly over the last few years, either numberpad or touch screen phones have reached a large majority of people. However, parts of the country, especially some areas in the states mentioned, continue to have poor mobile network connectivity. In this scenario, landlines remain to play an important role in government office and institutions — especially those that look after public safety.

What else does the report highlight?
The report states that there are 257 police stations across the country that do not have a vehicle. It said that a state like Arunachal Pradesh, affected by conflict between the Maoists and the law enforcement, has 135 police stations without a vehicle. 

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