According to a report by the Union Home Ministry, the names of over five lakh sex offenders, convicted for crimes against women, have been added to a database. The data can be accessed by law enforcement agencies to help crack sex crime cases across the country.
The national registry of sex offenders, maintained by the National Crime Records Bureau, has a database of offenders convicted under charges of rape, gang rape, POCSO and eve teasing.
"As of now, we have uploaded details of over five lakh sex offenders," a senior Home Ministry official said.
In the registry, details such as photos and IDs will, however, be accessible only to law enforcement agencies and will help them in tracking and investigating cases of sexual offences.
"The database includes name, address, photograph and fingerprint details for each entry but there will be no compromise on privacy," the official said.
The records are being sourced from the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), an ambitious programme of the Ministry of Home Affairs to maintain a database of crimes and criminals.
India is among few countries like the USA, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, and Trinidad & Tobago, that maintain a sex offenders list, another official said.
The United States is the only country where the sex offender registry is available to the public.
According to the NCRB statistics, as many as 38,947 rape cases were registered in 2016, against 34,651 in 2015. Overall crimes against women rose from 3,29,243 in 2015 to 3,38,954 in 2016.
The NCRB reports on crimes in 2017 and 2018 are yet to be published.
A majority of cases in 2016 categorised as crimes against women were reported under cruelty by husband or his relatives (32.6 per cent), followed by assault on woman with intent to outrage her modesty (25 per cent), kidnapping and abduction of women (19 per cent), and rape (11.5 per cent).
Madhya Pradesh reported the highest number of rape cases (4,882) in 2016, followed by Uttar Pradesh (4,816) and Maharashtra (4,189).