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The state of Odisha continues to lag behind in legal aid and police services; IJR

The latest IJR shows 28.4 percent vacancies at the level of police officers.

BHUBANESWAR: In 18 large and midsized states of the country, Odisha ranks lowest for policing and legal aid. According to the India Justice Report 2022, on police, judiciary, prisons, and legal aid, the state dropped from 7th to 10th position from 7th in 2019.

Based on the four parameters, the state received a rating of 5.16 out of 10. In terms of ranking, it places 9th behind Chhattisgarh, 7th behind Jharkhand and 5th behind Andhra Pradesh. Based on the police pillar, the state placed 4th, up two spots from 2020’s third position and in the prison and legal aid pillars, it placed 11th and 10th, up two spots from 2020’s 9th and 8th positions.

As a result of vacancies at the police officer level and the higher courts of the state, justice is being delayed, as stated in the study. It remains a concern that there are vacancies in other categories as well.

To January 2022, there were 28.4 per cent vacancies at police officer level, according to the latest IJR. During the same period, 42.6% of correctional staff vacancies in the state were unfilled, while 61.70% of medical officers were unfilled.

Among the states, Odisha ranked 11th on IJR’s ranking intention, which takes into account the number of women officers, constables, and vacancies in the ranks across departments.

Compared to the national average of 11.8 per cent, the state police force has only 10.5% women. In contrast to the national average of 8%, 12.9 percent of state police officers are women. 12 states, 17 states, and 10 states have increased police budgets more than they have increased total budgets. As per IJR-2022, the Odisha budget has grown by 8.6% over the past five years, whereas budget allocations for police, prisons, and judiciary have grown by 7.8%, 0.7%, and 9.3% respectively.

Policing, prisons, and justice budgets have grown at an average of -0.6%, 7.9%, and 0.7% respectively, compared to the average of the total state budget.

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