‘Home Guards’ is a voluntary force, first raised in India in December 1946, to assist the police in controlling civil disturbance and communal riots.Subsequently, the concept of the voluntary citizen’s force was adopted by several States.In the wake of Chinese aggression in 1962, the Centre advised the States and Union Territories to merge their existing voluntary organisation into one uniform voluntary force known as Home Guards.The role of Home Guards is to serve as an auxiliary Force to the Police in maintenance of internal security situations, help the community in any kind of emergency such as an air-raid, fire, cyclone, earthquake, epidemic etc., help in maintenance of essential services, promote communal harmony and assist the administration in protecting weaker sections, participate in socio-economic and welfare activities and perform Civil Defence duties.Home Guards are of two types – rural and urban.In border States, Border Wing Home Guards (BWHG) Bns. have been raised, which serve as an auxiliary to the Border Security Force.The total strength of Home Guards in the country is 5,73,793 against which the raised strength is 433803.The organization is spread over in all States and Union Territories except in Kerala.
Fifteen Border Wing Home Guards (BWHG) Battalions have been raised in the border States viz. Punjab (6 Bns.), Rajasthan ( 4 Bns.), Gujarat (2 Bns.) and one each Battalion for Meghalaya, Tripura and West Bengal to serve as an auxiliary to Border Security Force for preventing infiltration on the international border/coastal areas, guarding of VA/VPs and lines of communication in vulnerable area at the time of external aggression. Home Guards are raised under the Home Guards Act and Rules of the States/Union Territories.They are recruited from amongst all classes of people and walks of life, who give their spare time to the organisation for betterment of the community.Amenities and facilities given to Home Guards include free uniform, duty allowances and award for gallantry, distinguished and meritorious services.Members of Home Guards with three years’ service in the organisation are trained in policing, in maintenance of law and order, prevention of crime, anti-dacoity measures, border patrolling, prohibition, flood relief, fire-fighting, election duties and social welfare activities.
The Ministry of Home Affairs formulates the policy in respect of role, raising, training, equipping, establishment and other important matters of Home Guards Organisation.Expenditure on Home Guards is generally shared between Centre and State Government in the ratio 25% by the Centre and 75% by the State Government for raising, training and equipping on reimbursement basis.For North-Eastern States except Assam, the sharing pattern between the Centre and States in the ratio of 50:50.For the current year 2017-18 out of the budgetary provision of Rs.25.00 crore, Rs. 11.38 crore has been reimbursed to the States.
Roles And Duties:
- To serve as an auxiliary to the Police and to assist in maintaining internal security.
- To assist the community in any kind of emergency like air-raid, fire, flood, epidemic and so on.
- To organise functional units to provide essential services such as Motor Transport Unit, Fire Fighting and Engineering Groups, Pioneer Services, Nursing and First-Aid, Operation of water supply establishments, etc.
- To promote communal harmony and to give assistance to the administration in protecting the weaker sections of the society.
- To participate in socio-economic and welfare activities such as Adult Education, health and hygiene development schemes, etc.