By Soumitra Bose/Mukesh Kumar Sinha
Government of India’s “Rapid Developments” in Left Wing Extremism districts in the country are virtually scaring the Naxalites who even now officially could not care less for that. Yet, their scare for the Government’s all round specific, targeted all round welfare programmes for the inhabitants of the Naxalite areas is evident as they are fast becoming isolated, segregated from the society. Its people now are whole heartedly patronizing Government’s welfare measures and they are happy because of it thus seeing no reason for remaining aligned with the Naxalites.
Those responsible for such “commendable feat” include Union Home Ministry’s LEFT WING EXTREMISM DIVISION : Additional Secretary (LWE), Joint Secretary (LWE), Dy. Secretary / Director (LWE-I) (SRE, Standing Committees, GoM, Coordination, RTI etc.), Dy. Secretary / Director(LWE-I I) (IAP, SIS, other Development Schemes etc.), Dy. Secretary / Director (LWEO-I) (Analysis/ Advisories, Parliament Questions etc.), Dy. Secretary / Director (LWEO-II) (Infrastructure, Security of vital installations etc.), Security Advisor (LWE) (Training, Deployment, Technology etc.), US (LWE-II), US (LWE-III), US (LWE-I&IV), US (LWEO), SO (LWE-II), SO (LWE-III), SO (LWE-I&IV), SO (LWEO-I), SO (LWEO-II).
How they through their aides have cajoled and coaxed the villagers towards development : The Government’s approach is to deal with Left Wing Extremism in a holistic manner, in the areas of security, development, ensuring rights and entitlements of local communities, improvement in governance and public perception management. In dealing with this decades-old problem, it has been felt appropriate, after various high-level deliberations and interactions with the State Governments concerned, that an integrated approach aimed at the relatively more affected areas would deliver results. With this in view, a detailed analysis of the spread and trends in respect of Left Wing Extremist violence has been made and 106 districts in nine States have been taken up for special attention with regard to planning, implementation and monitoring various interventions. However, ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ being State subjects, action on maintenance of law and order lies primarily in the domain of the State Governments. The Central Government closely monitors the situation and supplements and coordinates their efforts in several ways. These include providing Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Commando Battalions for Resolute Action (CoBRA); sanction of India Reserve (IR) battalions, setting up of Counter Insurgency and Anti Terrorism (CIAT) schools; modernisation and upgradation of the State Police and their Intelligence apparatus under the Scheme for Modernization of State Police Forces (MPF scheme); re-imbursement of security related expenditure under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme; filling up critical infrastructure gaps under the Scheme for Special Infrastructure in Left Wing Extremism affected States; providing helicopters for anti-naxal operations, assistance in training of State Police through the Ministry of Defence, the Central Police Organisations and the Bureau of Police Research and Development; sharing of Intelligence; facilitating inter-State coordination; assistance in community policing and civic action programmes etc. The underlying philosophy is to enhance the capacity of the State Governments to tackle the Maoist menace in a concerted manner. The Division also monitors the implementation of Integrated Action Plan for LWE affected Districts (now called Additional Central Assistance to LWE affected districts) and various other development and infrastructure initiatives of the Government of India.
REVIEW AND MONITORING MECHANISMS :
- A number of review and monitoring mechanisms have been established by the Government of India in this regard. They include:
- A Standing Committee of the Chief Ministers of the LWE affected States under the chairmanship of the Union Home Minister, to work out a coordinated policy and specific measures to deal with the Left Wing Extremism problem on the political, security and development fronts.
- Review Group (earlier called the Task Force) under the Cabinet Secretary to review coordinated efforts across a range of development and security measures.
- A Coordination Centre chaired by the Union Home Secretary to review and coordinate the efforts of the State Governments, where the State Governments are represented by the Chief Secretaries and the Directors General of Police.
- A Task Force under the Special Secretary (Internal Security), Ministry of Home Affairs, with senior officers from the Intelligence agencies, the Central Armed Police Forces and the State Police Forces, to coordinate inter-state issues.
- An Empowered Group of Officers, headed by the Member-Secretary Planning Commission, with officers from the development Ministries and the Planning Commission, to oversee effective implementation of development schemes in Left Wing Extremism affected States.
OTHER INITIATIVS :
- The Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the Chief Ministers of Left Wing Extremism affected States on 14th July, 2010 and a number of decisions were taken to provide larger assistance to the affected States to curb the menace of Left Wing Extremism. In pursuance, inter alia, the following new initiatives were taken:
- A Unified Command has been set up in the States of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa, which are the most affected States. The Unified Command will have officers from the security establishment, besides civilian officers representing the civil administration and it will carry out carefully planned counter LWE measures.
- The Central Government approved a new scheme to assist the State Governments for construction/strengthening of 400 fortified police stations @ Rs. 2 crore each in Left Wing Extremism affected districts on 80:20 basis.
- An Empowered Group of Officers was set up at the level of the Central Government to over-ride or modify existing instructions on implementation of various development programmes and flagship schemes, having regard to the local needs and conditions in Left Wing Extremism affected areas for accelerated development.
- The Left Wing Extremism affected States have been asked to effectively implement the provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA) on priority, which categorically assigns rights over minor forest produce to the Gram Sabhas.
IMPORTANT SCHEMES FOR LWE AFFECTED STATES
- Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme:Under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme, funds are provided for meeting the recurring expenditure relating to insurance, training and operational needs of the security forces, rehabilitation of Left Wing Extremist cadres who surrender in accordance with the surrender and rehabilitation policy of the State Government concerned, community policing, security related infrastructure for village defence committees and publicity material.
- Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS):The Scheme for Special Infrastructure in Leftwing Extremism affected States was approved in the Eleventh Plan, with an allocation of Rs. 500 crore, to cater to critical infrastructure gaps, which cannot be covered under the existing schemes. These relate to requirements of mobility for the police / security forces by upgrading existing roads / tracks in inaccessible areas, providing secure camping grounds and helipads at strategic locations in remote and interior areas, measures to enhance security in respect of police stations / outposts located in vulnerable areas etc. Now, this scheme has been expanded to provide funds for upgradation of infrastructure, weaponry, equipment and training of Special forces of LWE affected States.
- Central Scheme for assistance to civilian victims/family of victims of Terrorist, Communal and Naxal violence:The broad aim of the Scheme is to assist families of victims of Terrorist, Communal and Naxal violence. An amount of Rs. 3 lakh is given to the affected family under the scheme. The assistance given to those who are adversely affected by naxal violence under this scheme is in addition to the ex-gratia payment of Rs. 1 lakh paid under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme.
- Integrated Action Plan(Additional Central Assistance):The Planning Commission is implementing the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for 82 Selected Tribal and Backward Districts for accelerated development. The aim of this initiative is to provide public infrastructure and services in 82 affected / contiguous Districts. Originally, a sum of Rs. 25 crores and Rs. 30 crores was released to 60 Districts during the financial years 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively. This Scheme has now been extended to 22 more LWE affected Districts, taking the total coverage to 82 Districts. The nature of major works/projects taken up by the districts under the IAP include construction of School Buildings / School Furniture, Anganwadi Centres, Drinking Water Facilities, Rural Roads, Panchayats Bhawan / Community Halls, Godowns / PDS shops, livelihood activities, skill development/ trainings, Minor Irrigation Works, Electric Lighting, Health Centres/Facilities, Ashram Schools, construction of Toilets, construction of multi-purpose chabutra, construction of passenger waiting hall, special coaching classes for students, construction of ANM Centres, development of play grounds etc. The IAP is being continued as ‘Additional Central Assistance to LWE affected districts’ with an increased coverage of 88 districts during the financial years 2013-14 and 2014-15. Under this scheme, a total number of 87534 projects have been completed till 31/12/2013.
- Road Requirement Plan for LWE areas: The Road Requirement Plan (RRP) Phase-I was approved in February, 2009 for improvement of road connectivity in 34 extremely LWE affected districts in 8 States viz. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh. The RRP-I envisages development of 1126 kms of National Highways and 4351 kms of State Roads (total 5477 kms), at a cost of Rs. 7300 crore. A length of 2750 kms has been built at an expenditure of Rs 3479 crores till 31st December, 2013.
- Scheme of Fortified Police Stations:The Ministry has sanctioned 400 police stations in 9 LWE affected States at a unit cost Rs. 2 crores under this scheme.
- Civic Action Programme:Under this scheme financial grants are sanctioned to CAPFs to undertake civic action in the affected states. The idea is to win the hears and minds of local communities through small development schemes, which to some extent will mitigate the problems of people living in insurgency hit areas and also bring goodwill to security forces.
Such drastic positive measures from Government naturally now are rapidly alienating Naxalites or Left extremists from the Locals without whose help/assistance/cooperation, they can’t operate.
- Even their covert parvenu activities can not go on like now in the absence of the locals’ cooperation : For instance, Gudabanda in Jharkhan is full with emerald mine. After being cleaned and polished, emerald is Rs 3,500 per carat. According to informations, so far Left Extremists used to Rs 200 crore every year from emerald-dug-out, thanks to the local people. Now the latter are laying off. Naturally then, emerald is fast drying out. Locals are neckdeep in Government programmes which are all round profitable to them instead of LWEs’ doles. “Emerald Bank” now in Gudabanda is now fast drying up due to absence of digging. Naturally, LWEs are rattled. If they are enterprising, they face bullets of Government whose forces find it easy to trace them in the absence of the localites helping them.
- It is the belief of the Government of India that through a holistic approach focussing on development and security related interventions, the LWE problem can be successfully tackled. However, it is clear that the Maoists do not want root causes like underdevelopment to be addressed in a meaningful manner since they resort to targeting school buildings, roads, railways, bridges, health infrastructure, communication facilities etc in a major way. They wish to keep the population in their areas of influence marginalized to perpetuate their outdated ideology. Consequently, the process of development has been set back by decades in many parts of the country under LWE influence. This needs to be recognised by the civil society and the media to build pressure on the Maoists to eschew violence, join the mainstream and recognise the fact that the socio-economic and political dynamics and aspirations of 21st Century India are far removed from the Maoist world-view. Further, an ideology based on violence and annihilation is doomed to fail in a democracy which offers legitimate forums of grievance redressal.