The massive cut on account of austerity measures seems to be having devastating effects on national security.
Of 131 four-wheelers sanctioned, only 57 vehicles have been purchased by the states and Union Territories under a proposal to strengthen coastal security.
Examining the issue, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs said one-time relaxation must be sought by the Home Ministry to ensure proper implementation of the coastal security scheme.
“Release of funds for procurement of vehicles in respect of Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala, Odisha, West Bengal and Daman & Diu could not be made in view of the Ministry of Finance’s restriction on purchase of new vehicles.
“The Committee recommends that the Ministry of Home Affairs take up the matter with the Ministry of Finance at the earliest for getting the proposal cleared. It also urges the Ministry of Finance to give ‘One Time’ relaxation for purchase of vehicles in the larger national interest,” the Committee has said.
The country has a coastline of 7,516 km bordering the mainland and islands with Bay of Bengal in the East, Indian Ocean on the South and Arabian Sea on the West.
A three-tier Coastal Security ring all along the coast is provided by Marine Police, Coast Guard and Navy. After the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, the Centre had formulated phase-2 of the Coastal Security Scheme with an outlay of Rs 1,580 crore.
The parliamentary standing committee, which had invited comments from the coastal states and Union Territories as well as the Home Ministry, highlighted the shortage of technical manpower for training requirements. It also asked the Centre to provide assistance to the states in recruiting technical manpower.
The Committee was also surprised to note that no security norms for the 187 minor ports of the country were evolved despite the lapse of six years after Mumbai attacks.
“Even after the Mumbai attacks, 187 minor ports of the country still lack standardised security cover... There should be regular security audit of the minor ports as well along with major ports,” the Committee observed.