GS3: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

 

What is the issue?

  • Government actions on Naxal hit areas have resulted in shrinkage of violence in a great geographical spread.

BACKGROUND

  • The term Naxal derives from the name of the village Naxalbari in West Bengal, where the Naxalite peasant revolt took place in 1967.
  • Naxalites are considered far-left radical communists, supportive of Mao Zedong’s political ideology.
  • Their origin can be traced to the split in 1967 of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) following the Naxalbari peasant uprising, leading to the formation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) two years later.
  • Initially, the movement had its epicenter in West Bengal, in later years, it spread into less developed areas of rural southern and eastern India, such as Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana through the activities of underground groups like the Communist Party of India (Maoist).
  • Some Naxalite groups have become legal organizations participating in parliamentary elections, such as the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Janashakti.
  • As of April 2018, the areas where Naxalites are most visible are: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana

DISCUSSION

Causes of Naxalism

  • Tribal discontent over The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 deprives tribals, who depend on forest produce for their living, from even cutting a bark.
  • Massive displacement of tribal population in the naxalism-affected states due to development projects, mining operations and other reasons.
  • Gaps in the socio-economic system of the country to support people in these forested areas of Eastern India.
  • It is seen that there is little follow up action, even after police takes hold of a region, administration fails to provide essential services to the people of that region.
  • Confusion over tackling naxalism as a social issue or as a security threat.
  • Criminal Naxal nexus has grown over the years such as cultivating Gnaja for them by Naxals in return of money.
  • Naxals are functioning not only for the ideology but also for vested interest of few leaders in certain region.
  • Active support of external and instate insurgency groups and a section of the social intelligentsia called urban naxal now.

Measures taken to develop Naxal hit areas

  • The Government is committed for holistic development of LWE affected areas at par with other areas of the country.
  • Apart from flagship/developmental Schemes being implemented by the line Ministries/ Departments, some specific schemes are also being implemented in LWE affected areas.
  • Action Plan 2015 – The Government of India has a holistic, multi-pronged strategy envisaged in Action Plan-2015 to combat LWE, which include development as an important prong.
  • Apart from flagship/developmental Schemes being implemented by the line Ministries/ Departments, some specific schemes are also being implemented in LWE affected areas. Details are as follows:
  • Special Central Assistance (SCA) – This scheme aims to fill critical gaps in public infrastructure and services of emergent nature in the most LWE affected districts.
  • This Scheme is for 3 years i.e. from 2017-18 to 2019-20 with an outlay of Rs.3000 crore. Rs.163.33 crore was released to Government of Bihar till now.
  • Security Related Expenditure Scheme – To assist the States to combat LWE, support is being given to 90 districts under Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme.
  • Government of India provides funds for Police Modernization to all the States.
  • Funds are also being provided under ‘Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS)’ for strengthening the Special Forces of the States and State Intelligence Branches (SIBs) to LWE affected states.
  • Construction of 250 Fortified Police Stations in LWE affected States is also envisaged under the scheme.
  • Road connectivity Plans – Road Requirement Plan-I scheme envisages construction of 5,422 km roads for LWE affected areas, of which 4,809 km have been constructed, including 674 km in Bihar.
  • Road Connectivity Project for LWE affected Areas scheme envisages for improving road connectivity in 44 LWE affected districts of 10 States.
  • It aims for construction of 5,412 km roads including 1050 km for Bihar, of which 644 km have been completed as a whole in the nation.
  • Skill development and Education Initiatives – Union government has sanctioned 7 New Kendriya Vidyalayas and 6 new Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas in the most LWE affected districts.
  • Under RMSA, 1590 new/upgraded Schools and 349 girl’s hostels have been sanctioned in most LWE affected districts.
  • Skill Development in LWE affected districts is being implemented by the MoSDE in 47 LWE affected districts of 10 States.
  • The Scheme envisages construction of 01 ITI in each of 47 districts and 02 Skill Development Centers (SDCs) in each of 34 districts
  • Other Infra developments – Installation of Mobile Towers in the LWE affected districts is being implemented by the Department of Telecom.
  • Financial Inclusion -627 new bank branches & 947 ATMs have been opened in 30 most LWE affected Districts in last 4 years between. In addition 1759 Branch Post Offices have been opened since 2017.

Way forward

  • Steadfast implementation of the Action Plan-2015 has resulted in consistent decline in LWE related violence and considerable shrinkage in geographical spread.
  • In 2018 LWE related violence was reported in 60 districts  in  the  year  2018  with  10  districts  accounting  for  2/3rdviolence.
  • Government needs innovative solutions for locating armed groups in the thick forests of the naxalism-affected regions.
  • Local Police knows the language and topography of a region; it can fight naxalism better than the armed forces. Andhra Police rose ‘Greyhounds’; special forces to deal with naxalism in the state.
  • Government needs to ensure two things; security of the peace-loving people and the development of the naxalism-affected regions.
  • State governments need to understand that naxalism is their problem also and only they can tackle it effectively. They can take help from central government if required.

# Practice Question

  1. India has made some success in containing naxalism but the root causes have not been addressed yet. Illustrate (200 words)