Home Guards are raised under the Home Guards Acts and Rules of the States/Union Territories. They are recruited from various cross sections of the people such as doctors, engineers, lawyers, private sector organisations, college and university students, agricultural and industrial workers etc. 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 Home Guards. Normal tenure of membership in Home Guards is 3 to 5 years. Amenities and facilities given to Home Guards include free uniform and washing allowance, free boarding and lodging during training, cash awards and medals for gallantry, distinguished and meritorious services. A Home Guards, whenever called out for duty/training, is paid duty/training allowance at prescribed rates to meet out-of-pocket expenses. Members of Home Guards with three years services in the organisation are trained in police in maintenance of law and order, prevention of crime, anti-decoity measures, border patrolling, prohibition, flood relief, fire fighting, election duties and social welfare activities. In the event of national emergency, some portion of Civil Defence work is also entrusted to the Home Guards.

The Ministry of Home Affairs formulate the policy in respect of role, target, raising, training, equipping, establishment and other important matters of Home Guards Organisation. Expenditure on Home Guards is shared between Centre and State Governments as per existing financial policy.