INDIA. Mumbai: Union Home Minister Amit Shah who reviewed the development projects in Naxal-hit areas with Chief ministers on Sunday, said that the root cause of dissatisfaction was that development has not reached in these area in the last six decades and it is essential to ensure accessibility to fast-paced development so that common and innocent people do not move towards the left-wing extremism(LWE).
The LWE which claimed the lives of over 16,000 civilians in the last 40 years, has now reached its end and the progress should be accelerated to make it decisive. Over the last decade, there has been a consistent decline both in the violence figure and its geographical spread. The incidents of LWE violence have come down by 70% from an all-time high of 2258 in 2009 to 665 in 2020. The resultant deaths also came down by 82% from an all-time high of 1005 in 2010 to 183 in 2020. The area under Maoist’s influence was also constricted with the geographical spread shrunk from 96 in 2010 to just 53 districts in 2020. These miscreants have been pushed to a few pockets with only 25 districts accounting for 85% of the LWE violence in the country, Shah stated.
Owing to the improved scenario, the number of Security Related districts came down from 126 to 90 in April-2018 and then to 70 in July this year. The number of most LWE-affected districts was also reduced from 35 to 30 in April-2018 and further reduced to 25 in July this year.
While the incidents of LWE came down by 23 percent, the number of deaths also came down by 21 percent. “In decades of fighting, we have reached a point where the death toll is less than 200 for the first time and this is a huge achievement. Unless we get rid of the problem of LWE completely, the full development of the country is not possible”, Shah said.
The Union Government has been successful in getting making many extremist groups to surrender and lay down arms, especially in the North East. So far, about 16,000 cadres have joined the mainstream of the society, including the Bodoland Pact, the Bru Pact, the Karbi Anglong Pact, and the insurgent cadres of Tripura. We welcome all those who want to leave the violence and join the mainstream, Shah added.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has promulgated a ‘National Policy and Action Plan’ since 2015 to address the LWE menace holistically and this policy comprises a multi-pronged approach.
The Central assistance
The efforts have been made to fulfil the demands of the states regarding the deployment of Central forces. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken an important decision to bring down the fixed expenditure of the states on the deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs). Due to this, there has been a reduction in the expenditure of the states on the deployment of CAPFs by about Rs 2900 crore in 2019-20 compared to previous year.
The MHA has been supporting the state governments for strengthening security apparatus by the deployment of CAPF Battalions, provision of helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles(UAVs), and sanction of India Reserve Battalions (IRBs)/ Special India Reserve Battalions (SIRBs). Funds are also provided under the Modernization of Police Force (MPF), Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme, and Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS) for modernization and training of State Police.
The Union Government has taken several developmental initiatives which include the sanction to construct 17,600 Kms of road, of which 9343 km roads have already been constructed under RRP-I and RCPLWE. To improve telecom connectivity in LWE affected districts, 2343 New Mobile Towers have been installed and 2542 additional towers will be installed in the next 18 months.
For financial inclusion of the people in LWE-affected districts, 1789 Post Offices, 1236 Bank Branches, 1077 ATMs, and 14230 Banking Correspondents have been opened and 3114 Post Offices will be opened in the next year. For imparting quality education to the youth in areas affected by LWE, special focus is given to the opening of Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS). Total 234 EMRSs have been sanctioned for LWE affected districts, of these 119 are functional.
Under Special Central Assistance (SCA) Scheme, over 10000 projects have been taken. Of these over 80% are completed. An amount of Rs 2698.24 crore has been released to the LWE affected states under the scheme. Under SIS, projects worth Rs.992 crore have been approved and an advance of Rs.152 crore has been released. Under SRE an amount of Rs.1992 crore has been released in the last 7 years since April-2014, which is 85% more in comparison to the preceding 07 years, Shah claimed.
Shah urged the states that the Chief Secretaries of the affected states should hold a review meeting with the Director General of Police (DGPs) and officers of central agencies at least every three months to deal with LWE and only then the fight against LWE can be taken forward. In the last two years, a successful effort has been made to increase security camps in areas where security was not stringent, especially in Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, and Odisha.
Shah said that it is very important to neutralize the sources of income of the LWE. The agencies of the Central and State Governments should try to stop this by implementing a coordinated system. He urged all the CMs to give priority to the problem of LWE for the next one year so that a permanent solution to the problem could be found. If regular review is taken at the level of the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary, and DGP, then the problems of coordination at the lower level will automatically get resolved.
The meeting was attended by the Union Ministers- Giriraj Singh, Arjun Munda, Ashwini Vaishnav, Gen VK Singh, and Nityanand Rai. Chief Ministers of Bihar, Odisha, Maharashtra, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, and Jharkhand were present. Besides, the Home Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Senior officials from Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, and Kerala, Union Home Secretary, top officials of Central Armed Police Forces, and other senior officers of Central and State Governments also attended the meeting.