Interim Budget 2024: Vibrant border villages, cyber security, police modernisation focus of MHA

Drop in budget allocation for council of ministers under VVIP provisions

Union Home Minister Amit Shah | PTI Union Home Minister Amit Shah | PTI

Border villages are not the last villages but the first villages. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to build model villages on the country’s borders with China and Pakistan and making people living on the borders equal stakeholders in development has been reflected in the union budget with three times the allocation to the Vibrant Village Programme this year.

The Vibrant Village Programme has been allocated Rs 1,050 crore against Rs 300 crore last year in the allocation of the Union home ministry, witnessing the sharpest rise. 

At a time when the focus is on building border infrastructure, especially on the Sino-Indian border which faces a high level of threat from the Chinese army, the emphasis on the centrally sponsored scheme launched in 2023 reflects the inclusive approach of the government, which is mindful of taking the local population alongside while strengthening the military presence and infrastructure. The focus is Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Ladakh where through the vibrant village programme the home ministry is spearheading plans to create opportunities for livelihood generation, promoting tourism and culture, skill development and entrepreneurship. The border infrastructure budget has also got a boost from Rs 3,172.22 crore to Rs 3,850 crore. 

The home ministry’s budget allocation in this Lok Sabha election year reflects key areas in internal security preparedness of the country which are likely to get maximum attention by the BJP if it comes back to power. The union home ministry, under Amit Shah, has been a strong advocate of modernisation of police forces, use of forensics and technology in policing and the same thrust is evident in the budget allocations. 

The Crime and Criminal Tracking System, which aims to link all the police stations in the country and allow ease of e-registration of FIRs, has got an increased outlay from Rs 221. 16 crore to Rs 520.51 crore. Similarly, for modernisation of police forces, the budget has gone up from Rs 2,837.40 crore last year to Rs 3,720.13 crore. Similarly, the Indian cyber crime and coordination centre, which provides a one stop shop for all cyber crime complaints and investigations, has got an increased outlay from Rs 86.94 crore to Rs 150.95 crore. 

There is also focus on building the air power of paramilitary forces deployed across the country with the Border Security Force’s air wing as well as river boats and helibases getting an increased allocation of Rs 263. 58 crore against Rs 81 .98 crore last year. 

Meanwhile, the home ministry is also bracing for the delayed census exercise for which it has set aside Rs 1277.80 crore under the outlay for census survey and statistics. 

Interestingly, the home ministry’s budget allocation for council of ministers, which includes expenses like salaries, sumptuary and other allowances and travel by Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State and ex-Prime Ministers, including provisions for special extra session flight operations for VVIPs, has seen a drop from Rs 1,289.28 crore to Rs 832.81 crore.

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