The Indian Home Guard is a volunteer tasked as an auxiliary to the Indian Police. The Home Guards Organisation was reorganised in India in 1966 after the Sino-Indian War with the People’s Republic of China, though it existed in smaller units individually in some places. Home Guards are recruited from various cross sections of the civil society such as professionals, college students, agricultural and industrial workers etc who give their spare time for betterment of the community. All citizens of India, in the age group of 18–50, are eligible. Normal tenure of membership in Home Guards is three to five years.
The Home Guard was originally raised in the erstwhile Bombay Province in 1946. Apart from Army, Navy, Air Force and other security agencies, the twin voluntary organisations – Civil Defence & Home Guards were raised to provide protection to citizens in any untoward situation. Therefore, 6 December every year is celebrated throughout the nation as Raising Day of the organisation. On that day in 1946, first Home Guards Unit was conceived and raised in erstwhile Bombay Presidency during turmoil period of civil disorders and communal riots, as a civilian voluntary force in aid of administration as an auxiliary to Police, under the stewardship of Morarji Desai, former Prime Minister. in accordance with the Home Guards Acts and Rules of States/Union Territories, under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The Maharashtra Home Guards was utilised by the Civil Defence which came into existence in 1952 under the name of Home Defence (New Civil Defence Act is 27 0f 1968). In view of these the Maharashtra Home Guards and the State Government could assist Central Government in organising the Home Guards and Civil Defence creditably during External aggression in 1962. On some occasions the organisation went out of its lawful jurisdiction in order to render help as during the floods in Surat in 1956; civil defence measures organised in Assam in 1962; special services rendered at the exposition of St Xavier’s body in Goa in 1964, etc. They also rendered yeomen’s service during several strikes of Bombay Municipal Corporation employees, and fully manned the essential services such as fire brigade, water supply and hospital services for a number of days. At this time the Home Defence was permitted to be brought to limelight by changing the Home Defence to Civil Defence. The policies of State Civil Defence Committee were based on the directives issued by Government of India.
- To serve as Auxiliary to the Police and generally help in maintaining internal security.
- To help the community in any kind of Emergency—such as on Air-raid precautions or on any natural disaster.
- To function as an Emergency Force intended for special tasks directly or indirectly connected with the defence of the country.
- To maintain functional units to provide essential services such as motor transport, Engineering groups, Fire brigade, Nursing and First Aid, Operation of Power supply, Water installations and Communication systems etc.
- The Border Wing of 18 battalions assists the Border Security Force in preventing infiltration on the international border/coastal areas, guarding of VA/VPs and lines of communication and vulnerable areas at the time of external aggression. The 18 battalions are deployed as follows: Assam (one bn), Gujarat (4 bns), Meghalaya (one bn), Punjab (6 bns), Rajasthan (4 bns), Tripura (one bn), and West Bengal (one bn). Marine Units function as an Indian Coast Guard auxiliary. The Fire Wing assists the Indian Fire service.