Border Area Development Programme: Features and Implementation Issues

The major issues with which India’s borders are plagued with include – poor accessibility,  economic backwardness, sense of insecurity among people living in border areas etc. Thus, development of the border areas was envisaged as an important element of the border management policy of the government. In this direction, the Border Area Development Programme (BADP) was started as early as 1987 along with India-Pakistan border.

Objectives

Border Area Development Programme was launched to meet the special development needs of the people living in remote and inaccessible areas near the international border. Its primary objectives were to:

  • Create infrastructure in border areas
  • Provide economic opportunities to people living in the vicinity of the border
  • instil a sense of security among the people living in border areas.

Implementation

The BADP programme was introduced as a “Centrally Sponsored Scheme”  and is implemented by state governments under the monitoring of Department of Border Management under the Ministry of Home Affairs. Though this programme was launched for western border with Pakistan, it was later extended to all of border areas including North East in 1993-94 in the eighth five year plan. Its implementation includes development of  community-based  infrastructure  like  forestry, pasture land, fishery ponds, floriculture parks, community centres, mobile dispensaries, mini marketing yards, etc. in border areas.

  • The funds under BADP are provided to the States as a 100% non-lapsable Special Central Assistance.
  • The programme is supplemental in nature and the budget allocation for the financial year 2015-16 is Rs.990 crore.
  • Currently, this programme is being implemented in all the 17 states which share international borders of India. These include: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.

Over the years, the nature of the programme has changed from a schematic one with emphasis on education to a state-level programme with emphasis on balanced development of  border areas.  Grass root level institutions such as Panchayati Raj Institutions, District Councils/Traditional Councils are encouraged to participate in deciding the priority schemes for their areas. Security related schemes are also taken up under the BADP.

Modified Border Area Development Programme – July, 2015

In July 2015, the government had released revised guidelines for the modified Border Area Development Programme (BDAP). The key features of these guidelines are as follows:

  • BADP Programme has been now extended to all villages located within 0-10 km of International border in all the 17 states that share India’s international borders.
  • Within these villages, the villages identified by the Border Guarding Forces will get first priority.
  • The Empowered Committee on BADP under the secretary, Department of Border Management will now include representatives of Ministries of Rural Development, Sports, Health etc.
  • Some new schemes for convergence to BADP have been included viz. Swachhta Abhiyan, Skill Development Programmes, Rural / border tourism, scientific farming etc.
  • Provisions for third party inspection and quality control mechanism have been included.
  • Special and specific area schemes have been included under which some villages are to be developed as model villages.

Issues and Analysis

The performance of this scheme should be analyzed in the light of below question:

This scheme has been a failure in north east but successful in western states. Why this asymmetric development?

The performance of this programme has been grossly inadequate and asymmetric. The scheme has achieved success in western sector, particularly in Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh etc. However, in north east, it is an utter failure.

A NITI Aayog report “Evaluation Study on Border Area Development Programme ” reveals that intended goals of this programme in north east are far from being achieved.

Large number of People living in the north east states are unsatisfied with the scheme, complain of inadequate infrastructure and feel insecure. There are several reasons for failure of this scheme in north east. Firstly, the difficult terrain in north east makes it difficult to build infrastructure. Secondly, there are several restrictions put in place by the BADP programme itself. Thirdly, the political interference, corruption, meagre funds, faulty implementation by states and inadequate provisions of local participation are some of the main reasons. Fourthly, due to inadequate planning and coordination, the funds meant for BADP are either siphoned off or remain unused.

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