State forensic labs expanding infrastructure on back of rising demand for DNA testing
Led by Delhi and Maharashtra, India’s forensic laboratories have managed to reduce pendency of DNA testing cases by a 50% national average. While Delhi has eliminated most of its case backlog, Maharashtra is upgrading facilities across regions like Aurangabad and Amravati as a response to the ever-increasing demand for DNA testing from law enforcement agencies and courts.
In the north, Delhi was facing a pendency of 9,000 DNA testing samples in 2017 but with concrete steps to upgrade infrastructure and manpower, the state FSL has managed to eliminate most of its backlog in over a year.
Similarly, in the western region, Maharashtra has been working on reducing a backlog that stood at 1,700 DNA cases in 2017,a majority of which are related to sexual offences against women & children. The state receives 4,500 cases of DNA analysis in a year with demand increasing by nearly 20% annually and is expected to extend DNA testing facilities from presently five to all its eight forensic labs this year.
Dr Rajiv Giroti, Dy. Director CFSL, Hyderabad said, “Theres been a huge impetus witnessed in forensic infrastructure across India’s FSLs over the last one year, with rising demand for DNA testing in criminal investigation. This has led to substantial reduction in backlog of cases to nearly 50%. Delhi and Maharashtra have performed exceptionally well! They are seen to steadily and speedily work on expansion of district level facilities, stepping up workforce with more experts and technical staff with high-throughput equipment to expedite investigations and provide breakthroughs.”
As per recent reports, DNA testing infrastructure is being upgraded across all state forensic science laboratories. Larger states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are expanding facilities across districts to increase coverage and reduce the load on existing labs. In the south, Tamil Nadu is seen to expand a good number of regional level labs. Up north, Himachal Pradesh, has stepped up infrastructure with their two range forensic labs, and in the east, Guwahati too is expected to set up its FSL within next 6 months.