The twin voluntary organizations – Civil Defence & Home Guards were raised to provide protection to Indian citizens in any untoward situation. Therefore, every year, 6th December is celebrated as Raising Day of these organizations since it was on this day in the year 1946 that the first Home Guards unit was conceived and raised in the erstwhile Bombay State during the turbulent period of civil disorders and communal riots.
After raising Home Guards, the concept of voluntary citizens’ 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 organisations into one uniform voluntary force known as Home Guards.
The role of Home Guards is to serve as an auxiliary to the Police in maintaining law and order, internal security, 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 defense duties.
Home Guards are of two types – rural and urban. In border states, Border Wing Home Guards Battalions have also been raised, which serve as an auxiliary to the Border Security Forces.
In Goa, the Home Guards Organisation started in 1967, six years after Goa’s liberation and was functioning under Goa Police Department. It was established in full-fledged manner in 1981 under I.G.P. / Ex-Officio Commandant General Home Guards and Director Civil Defence.
The Bombay Home Guards Act, 1947 was extended to then Union Territory of Goa Daman & Diu in 1965. As per the Act, this is a Voluntary Organisation used during emergencies. Presently the Director General of Police/ Ex-Officio Commandant General Home Guards and Director Civil Defence is the Head of the Department of Home guards and Civil Defence Organisation.
The present strength of Home Guards in Goa is 700.
Today, the Police Department is incomplete without home guards. The role of the Home Guards in investigating crime has become quite significant as in many cases they help the investigation by becoming pancha witnesses.
Besides law and order, home guards offer their services to traffic management and also help the crime control wings of the police.
Home guards play a vital role during elections and in normal times, many of them are used for bandobast duties, VVIP duties, Motor Traffic section, IFFI, Old Goa feast and other festivals including Carnival and Shigmo float parade.
Home Guards are recruited from a cross section of the people such as doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers, professionals, employees of public and private sector organisations, college and university students, agricultural and industrial workers and even government servants, who give their spare time to the organisation for betterment of the community.
All citizens of India, who are in the age group of 18-50, are eligible to become members of Home Guards. Normal tenure of membership in Home Guards is three to five years.
A Home Guard, whenever called up for duty/training, is paid duty/training allowance at prescribed rates to meet the pocket expenses. Members of Home Guards with three years services in the organisation are trained by police in maintenance of law and order, prevention of crime, anti-dacoity measures, border patrolling, flood relief, prohibition, fire fighting, elections and social welfare activities. In the event of national emergency, some portion of civil defence work is also entrusted to the Home Guards.