The Home Guard was officially raised in the erstwhile Bombay Province in 1946. Other from Army, Navy, Air Force and other security agencies, the twin voluntary organizations – Civil Defence & Home Guards were raised to give protection to citizens in any untoward situation. Therefore, 6 December every year is celebrated in the whole of the nation as Raising Day of the organization. On that day in 1946, first Home Guards Unit was conceived and increased in erstwhile Bombay Presidency in turmoil period of civil disorders and communal riots, as a civilian volunteer 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 Indian Home Guard is an Indian paramilitary police force. It is a voluntary force, assigned as an auxiliary to the Indian Police. The Home Guards Organisation was reconducted in India in 1962 after the Sino-Indian War with the People’s Republic of China, though it existed in smaller units individually in some areas. Home Guards are recruited from various cross sections of the civil society such as professionals, college students, agricultural and industrial workers etc who provide their spare time for the betterment of the community. All people of India, in the age group of 18–50, are eligible. The normal duration of membership in Home Guards is three to five years.
The functions to be performed by Home Guards are listed below:
- To work as an Auxiliary to the Police and generally help in maintaining internal security.
- To assist 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 jobs directly or indirectly connected with the defense of the country.
- To maintain functional units to provide important 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 helps 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 bn), Meghalaya (one bn), Punjab (6 bns), Rajasthan (4 bns), Tripura (one bn), and West Bengal (one bn).
- Marine Units works as an Indian Coast Guard Auxiliary.
- The Fire Wing helps the Indian Fire service.
Strength and Organisation
The whole strength of Home Guards in the country is 573,793 against which the present raised strength is 486,401 Home Guards in 25 states and the union territories. It doesn’t cover Kerala as its duties are performed by other organizations.
Central Civil Defence training centers were set up in various states to impart training to both Civil Defence and Home Guards personnel. The training comprises of the individual as well as team training. After Independence, the task of Civil Defence training was revived only after 1962.
The Home Guard is lashed with and trained to use older weapons such as the .303 Lee–Enfield SMLE rifle, Sten and Bren guns which are manufactured indigenously by the Indian Ordnance Factories.