Steps Taken by Government to Tackle LWE
Government has adopted both violent and peaceful strategies to tackle threat posed by naxals. But lately it seems government is keener to follow peaceful strategy of development as a tool to dissuade potent recruits from joining armed struggle in naxal hit areas in cooperation with State government.
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 Armed Police Forces, modernisation and up gradation of the State Police and their Intelligence apparatus under the Scheme for Modernization of State Police Forces (MPF scheme); 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 State Governments to tackle the Maoist menace in a concerted manner. The Division also monitors the implementation of Integrated Action Plan for LWE Districts and various other development and infrastructure initiatives of the Government of India.
Unified Command in the States of Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha, which constituted of officers from the security establishment, besides civilian officers representing the civil administration and it will carry out carefully planned anti-LWE measures.
The command & control setup in the States of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha has been re-structured and an IG from CRPF posted in each of these states to work in close coordination with IG (anti-naxal operations) in the State.
The Central Government has 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 has been 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 states with LWE:
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.
Scheme of Special Infrastructure: To cater to critical infrastructure gaps, this 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.
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.
Integrated Action Plan: The Planning Commission is implementing the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for 78 Selected Tribal and Backward Districts for accelerated development. The aim of this initiative is to provide public infrastructure and services in 78 affected / contiguous 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.
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 most 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 848 kms has been built at an expenditure of Rs 1363 crores till 31st December, 2011. The stretches for Phase-II of the Road Requirement Plan have been finalised by the Ministry of Home Affairs in August, 2011, based on the priority indicated by the State Governments and is under consideration with the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways.
Civic Action Programme: Under this scheme financial grants are sanctioned to CAPFs to undertake civic action in the affected states. This is a successful scheme which aims to build bridges between the local population and the security forces.
Government of India approach of focussing on development and security related interventions, the LWE problem can be tackled. However, Maoists belief to keep the population in their areas of influence marginalized to perpetuate their outdated ideology seems more effecting to tackle the process. 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.