[Solved] What are the determinants of left-wing extremism in Eastern part of India? What strategy should Government of India, civil administration and security forces adopt to counter the threat in the affected areas? ( UPSC GS-3 Mains 2020)

Eastern part of India is one the most vulnerable and sensitive region of India where there is lot of extremism. Left-wing extremism is a phenomenon that has been troubling the Eastern part of India for the past several decades. There are various reasons for left wing extremism in eastern region.

  • Left-Wing Extremism or Naxal Movement has been the cause of extreme violence in some parts of the country.
  • These extremists are internally waging wars against the state. It is considered to be the most important security concern.
  • These extremist movements have disconnected several tribal villages from the national mainstream.
  • They want the abolition of the state to establish the rule of people.
  • These extremists strike the symbols of the country’s power such as the police, schools, and other government institutions.

The Dynamics Of Maoist Insurgency:

  • Some sections of the society, especially the younger generation, have romantic illusions about the Maoists, arising out of an incomplete understanding of their ideology.
  • The central theme of Maoist ideology is violence. The Maoist insurgency doctrine glorifies violence as the primary means to overwhelm the existing socio-economic and political structures. The Peoples Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA), the armed wing of CPI (Maoist), has been created with this purpose in mind.
  • In the first stage of the insurgency, the PLGA resorts to guerrilla warfare, which primarily aims at creating a vacuum at the grass-roots level of the existing governance structures.
  •  This is achieved by killing lower-level government officials, police-personnel of the local police stations, the workers of mainstream political parties and the people’s representatives of the Panchayati Raj system.
  •  After creating a political and governance vacuum, they coerce the local population to join the movement.
  • A strident propaganda is also carried out against the purported and real inadequacies of the existing state structure.
  • In areas under Maoist domination, the absence of governance becomes a self- fulfilling prophecy since the delivery systems are extinguished through killings and intimidation.
  • This is the first step in the strategy of the Maoists to seek to control the countryside. In the meanwhile, many Front Organisations are created to facilitate mass-mobilisation in semi-urban and urban areas through ostensibly democratic means.
  • Most of the Front Organisations are led by well-educated intellectuals with a firm belief in the Maoist insurgency doctrine.
  • These ideologues function as masks to cover the violent nature of the CPI (Maoist) ideology. They also form the propaganda/disinformation machinery of the party.
  • They stridently take up issues like ‘displacement of tribals’, ‘corporate exploitation’, ‘human rights violations’ by security forces etc. and often make fantastic claims in this regard which get reported even by the mainstream media.
  •  The Front Organisations also skilfully use state structures and legal processes to further the Maoist agenda and weaken the enforcement regime. The important functions of these Organisations include recruitment of ‘professional revolutionaries’, raising funds for the insurgency, creating urban shelters for underground cadres, providing legal assistance to arrested cadres and mass- mobilisation by agitating over issues of relevance/ convenience.
  • The Front Organisations aim to provide short-term democratic subterfuge to cover-up the totalitarian and oppressive nature of the Maoist ideology.
  •  The CPI (Maoist) also have a strategic game-plan to create a ‘United Front’ with all like-minded insurgent/terrorist outfits in India.
  •  It needs to be remembered that many of these outfits are supported by external forces inimical to India and the CPI (Maoist) consider such alliances as strategic assets.
  • In a nutshell, the CPI (Maoist), the main LWE outfit in India, aims to overthrow the existing democratic state structure with violence as their primary weapon, and mass mobilization and strategic united fronts as complementary components and plans to usher in So-called ‘New Democratic Revolution’ in India.

Determinants that decisively affect the nature or outcome of left-wing extremism in the Eastern part comprising of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal are:

  • Few sections, especially the youth, of the society have a false idea or belief about the Maoist ideology whose central theme is violence.
  • This rule acknowledges violence to be the primary means to overpower the existing socio-economic and political-institutional frameworks.
  • Through killings and coercion, they try to interrupt or halt governance processes and the delivery systems; and put the blame for slow convergence and development on the government.
  • Displacement of tribals, corporate exploitation, human rights violations by security forces, and others are some issues, they often take up to justify their acts.
  • The Front Organisations are mostly organized and directed by well-read intellectuals having a strong belief in the Maoist insurgency doctrine.

THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA’S APPROACH

  • 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 90 districts in eleven 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 the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs); 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; reimbursement of security related expenditure under the Security-related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme; providing helicopters for anti-LWE 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.

MONITORING MECHANISMS

The Union Home Minister, the Home Secretary & the Special Secretary/Additional Secretary and a Review Group chaired by the Cabinet Secretary review the LWE situation on a regular basis. The Progress of the various schemes is regularly monitored by MHA though meeting and Video Conferencing with the Central Ministries/Departments concerned and State Governments.

IMPORTANT INITIATIVES FOR LWE AFFECTED STATES

  • In order to holistically address the LWE problem in an effective manner, the Government has formulated a National Policy and Action Plan adopting a multi-pronged strategy in the areas of security, development, ensuring rights & entitlement of local communities, etc.
  • Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme: This Scheme was extended by the Government on 27.09.2017 as a subscheme of the Umbrella Scheme Modernization of Police Forces for a period of 03 years till 2020, with further extension up to 31.03.2021.
  • Under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme, the central Govt. reimburses to the State Governments of 11 LWE affected States Security Related Expenditure of 90 districts relating to training and operational needs of security forces, ex-gratia payment to the family of civilians/security forces killed/injured in LWE violence, compensation to Left Wing Extremist cadres who surrendered in accordance with the surrender and rehabilitation policy of the concerned State Government, community policing, Security-related infrastructure for village defense committees and publicity materials.
  •  There is a substantial increase in annual outlay and new items such as compensation for Security force personnel incapacitated during anti LWE operations and compensation for the property damage have been included in this scheme.
  • The SRE Scheme aims at strengthening of the capacity of the LWE affected States to fight the LWE menace effectively. Under the scheme, Rs. 304.49 crore have been released in 2020-21.
  • Special Central Assistance (SCA) for 30 most LWE affected districts: : This Scheme was approved by the Government on 27.09.2017 as a sub-scheme of the Umbrella Scheme, ‘Modernization of Police Forces’ for a period of 3 years i.e. from 2017-18 to 2019-20 and was further extended up to 31.03.2021. The main objective of the Scheme is to fill the critical gaps in Public infrastructure and Services, which are of emergent nature. Rs. 2598.24 crore have been released to the Stats during last 4 years.
  • Special Infrastructure Scheme, along with Construction of Fortified Police Stations in the LWE affected States: This Scheme was approved by the Government on 27.09.2017 as a sub-scheme of the Umbrellas Scheme, ‘Modernization of Police Forces’ for a period of 3 years i.e. from 2017-18 to 2019-20 and was further extended up to 31.03.2021. The total outlay of the scheme is Rs. 1006.00 crores i.e. Rs. 604 crore as Central Share (60%) and Rs.402 crore as State share (40%). Rs. 152.67 crore have been released till now under the scheme..
  • Scheme of Fortified Police stations: The Ministry had sanctioned the construction of 400 Fortified Police Stations in 10 LWE affected States. Of these 399 of PSs have been completed.
  • Assistance to Central Agencies for LWE management Scheme: This Scheme was approved by the Government on 27.09.2017 as a sub-scheme of the Umbrella Scheme Modernization of Police Forces for a period of 03 years i.e. from 2017-18 to 2019-20 and was further extended up to 31.03.2021. Under the Scheme, assistance is provided to Central Agencies (CAPFs/IAF, etc) for strengthening infrastructure and hiring charges for Helicopters.
  • Civic Action Programme (CAP): This Scheme was approved by the Government on 27.09.2017 as a sub-scheme of the Umbrella Scheme Modernization of Police Forces for a period of 03 years i.e. from 2017-18 to 2019-20 and was further extended up to 31.03.2021. CAP in Left-wing Extremism-affected areas is being implemented since 2010-11 to bridge the gaps between Security Forces and local people through personal interaction and bring the human face of SFs before the local population. The Scheme has been very successful in achieving its goal. Under the Scheme, funds are released to the CAPFs, deployed in LWE affected areas, for conducting various civic activities for the welfare of the local people. 7.22 crore was released to CAPFs in the financial year 2020-21.
  • Media Plan: This Scheme has been approved by the Government on 27.09.2017 as a sub-scheme of the Umbrella Scheme Modernization of Police Forces for a period of 03 years i.e. from 2017-18 to 2019-20. The Maoists have been misguiding and luring the innocent tribals/ local population in LWE affected areas by their So-called poor-friendly revolution through petty incentives or by following their coercive strategy. Their false propaganda is targeted against the security forces and the democratic setup. Therefore, the Government is implementing this Scheme in LWE affected areas. Under the scheme activities like Tribal Youth Exchange programs organized by NYKS, radio jingles, documentaries, pamphlets, etc. are being conducted. Rs.2.71 crores have been released in the financial year 2020-21.
  • Road Requirement Plan-I (RRP-I) for LWE affected areas: This Scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways for improving road connectivity in 34 LWE affected districts of 8 States i.e. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh. This scheme envisaged construction of 5,362 km road lengths in LWE affected States, of which 4,980 km roads have been completed.
  • Road Connectivity Project for LWE affected areas (RRP-II): The Government approved this scheme on 28.12.2016 for further improving road connectivity in LWE affected States, with an estimated expenditure of Rs. 11,725 Crore. Under the scheme 9286 km of roads and 389 bridges are sanctioned. Ministry of Rural Development is the nodal Ministry for this project. The roads included under the scheme have been identified by the Ministry of Home Affairs in consultation with the State Governments and the security agencies. 3452 km roads and 78 bridges have been constructed so far.
  • Left-wing Extremism Mobile Tower Project:To improve mobile connectivity in the LWE areas, the Government 20.08.2014 approved the installation of mobile towers in LWE affected States and 2335 mobile towers have been installed in Phase-I. Phase-II of the project has been approved by the Government of India, under which 4072 mobile towers, involving an expenditure of Rs. 7330 crore, has been approved by the Government of India.
  • Aspirational District: The Ministry of Home Affairs has been tasked with the monitoring of the Aspirational District program in 35 LWE affected districts.

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