The Village Defence Organisation is a concept and organization unique to the state of Assam. It was established in the year 1949 when Late Harinarayan Baruah, the founder of the organization, set up a team of village youths to look after and safeguard their own village. This concept of looking after the security of one’s own village gradually spread into neighbouring districts and soon an organization which came to be known as the Village Defence Organisation came into being. It soon earned, through the unflinching hard work and sincerity of its founder and the workers, the recognition and sanction of the Government. An Act was enacted known as the Village Defence Organisation Act in 1966, followed by the Assam Village Defence Rules in 1986, both of which govern the functioning of the organisation.
The principal objective of the Village Defence Organisation is to assist the Police in the maintenance of Law and Order, peace and tranquility in the State.
Apart from the above, there exist the following honorary functionaries who are designated with the duty to motivate the volunteers and promote and popularize the concept and objectives of the Organization among the public:
There are various advisory committees which guide and regulate the functioning of the Organization at various levels in the districts
A VDP comprises of 20-25 volunteers of a village and are responsible for safe guarding the area of that particular village jurisdiction. There are 19, 881 registered VDPs and 4058 unregistered VDPs in Assam. The VDPs execute a wide range of duties:
Most significantly, the VDPs are the first responders in any given situation – whether it is a riot, accident (road/rail), natural disaster (earthquake, floods etc.) since they are the grassroots level i.e. the basic unit of society. During times when no other government machinery can reach a scene of disaster, it is the VDPs who provide basic service in saving lives and bringing the situation under control.
To encourage and assist the registered VDPs in carrying out their duties, the Government grants out of pocket money - 19, 644 VDPs receive monthly pocket money @ Rs. 500/- while 237 VDPs who execute Railway track duty from Srirampur to Guwahati receive Rs. 1500/- per month.
The VDPs also receive the following equipments:
Further, the Chief Minister, Assam, grants Rs. 1 (one) lakh to the next of kin of VDP volunteer who died on duty. Further, the foundation day of the Organisation is observed on the 29th of January every year, centrally at a chosen venue, which is graced by various dignitaries and representatives of the Organisation from all over the State. During these celebrations, the volunteers interact with the Chief Controller and other functionaries of the Organisation regarding various issues related to their day to day duties/ functions. Further, the annual awards are given out to the best CO, VDOs and best VDPs - one each from each district in recognition of their achievements.
Efforts have been on to upgrade and modernize the Village Defence Organisation. With that view in mind, during the financial year 2014-2015, in addition to the traditionally provided VDP equipments mentioned above, malaria treated mosquito nets and mobile handsets alongwith simcards were provided to the VDPs by the government. The government has also notified that 3 marks weightage shall be given for recruitment in the Home Guards to candidates who are members of a Village Defence Party. Further, construction of 25 (twenty five) Meeting Halls for the VDPs at the Police Stations of 25 districts is underway including one in the Assam Police Headquarters in the last financial year.this is in addition to the 67 Meeting Halls all over the state previously constructed by the district authorities.
Several other such schemes and proposals are on active consideration of the government in order to upgrade and modernize the Village Defence Organisation. Some of which are: