In an indication that the census exercise — meant to be completed in 2021, but delayed because of COVID-19 — may not be conducted in 2023-24, the Union Budget allocation for the Census Survey and Statistics head has been slashed to ₹1,565 crore from the ₹3,676 crore allocated in 2022-23. The last census was held in 2011.
Overall, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been allocated ₹1.96 lakh crore in the Budget 2023-24, a 5% hike from the almost ₹1.86 lakh crore allotted to it in the current fiscal.
In her Budget speech on Wednesday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that States must spend the entire fifty-year loan given to them on capital expenditure within the 2023-24 financial year. Parts of the outlay will also be linked to, or allocated for scrapping old government vehicles and housing for police personnel above or as part of police stations, she said.
Intelligence database funding up
The allocation for the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) has been more than doubled, growing a whopping 128% from ₹87.77 crore in 2022-23 to ₹200.53 crore in the coming year. NATGRID is one-stop destination for security and intelligence agencies to access databases related to immigration entry and exit, and the banking and telephone details of terror and crime suspects, using a “secured platform”. The Intelligence Bureau has seen an increase of 7% with an allocation of ₹3,418 crore in 2023-24.
The Official Languages division that promotes the use of Hindi language in official government work has been allocated a budget of ₹93.26 crore.
The Special Protection Group, which only provides security cover to the Prime Minister of India, has seen a 12% increase in budgetary allocation from ₹385 crore to ₹433 crore.
The Indo Tibetan Border Police Force that is deployed along the 3,488 km border with China has seen an 8% increase in its budget from ₹7,461 crore in the current fiscal to ₹8,097 crore in the next fiscal.
Managing border infra, movement
The budget for the Immigration, Visa and Foreigners Registration and Tracking System (IVFRT) has increased 30% from ₹175 crore to ₹229 crore. IVFRT’s core objective is to develop and implement a secure and integrated service delivery framework that facilitates legitimate travellers, while strengthening security.
Border infrastructure and management has seen its budget grow 29%, from ₹2,744 crore in 2022-23 to ₹3,545 crore in 2023-24. The provision is allocated for barbed wire fencing, construction of roads, observation posts and border outposts, installation of flood lights, induction of hi-tech surveillance along the Bangladesh and Pakistan borders, and for other such construction activities at India’s international borders
The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre has been allocated ₹94 crore, almost 60% more than the ₹59 crore allocated the previous year
A large component of the budget, a total of ₹2,092 crore, has been reserved for “research,” which is almost 50% higher than the ₹1,400 crore revised estimates for 2021-22.
The modernisation of the Central Armed Police Forces, newly introduced as a budget head in 2022-23, has seen its allocation fall more than 18% to ₹202 crore, down from the ₹248 crore allotted earlier.