10 Aug 2022
GS Paper 3
Day 31: What are the challenges faced by the Government in dealing the left-wing extremism (LWE)? Describe the measures taken by the Government to check the LWE. (250 words)
- Describe Left Wing Extremism and causes for its genesis.
- Discuss the issues in dealing with LWE.
- Explain the initiatives taken by the Government to deal with them.
- Conclude suitably.
Naxalism had started as an agrarian rebellion by the Santhal tribals of Naxalbari in West Bengal in the year 1967. This insurgency resurfaced in the 1980s with the rise of the People’s War Group (PWG) and Maoist Communist Centre (MCC). In 2004, the PWG and MCC merged to form the Communist Party of India (Maoists). This has given a pan-India orientation to LWE.
LWE has its genesis in poor governance, lack of development in the tribal belt, and an oppressive/exploitative hierarchy of the state and society that has pushed the tribal population, the landless, to the margins of survival. Large scale displacement of tribal populations by major hydro-electric projects and extensive mining in jungle areas has led to the third phase of LWE.
Making a beginning in Naxalbari in West Bengal and Telangana region in Andhra Pradesh in the 1970s, the movement has since spread to many states: Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Orissa. This region, affected by LWE, is referred to as the red corridor.
Issues Related to Dealing With LWE:
- Leadership Issue: In the current scenario, barring a few exceptions, many of the senior police officers (IPS cadre) who are parachuted into the central police forces at senior ranks have little or no platoon/battalion experience. By training, the police officer is expected to be a competent Superintendent and to maintain law and order. This is not the skill set that is relevant when an officer has to "command" and lead his men into insurgency operations. This led to armed personnel casualties. In the last three decades, around 15000 people have lost their lives owing to LWE.
- Recruiting Tribal Youths: It is not ideology and revolutionary zeal that is driving people who are engaged in LWE. Their main activity is extortion. For many, joining these groups is the only way to survive. Further, these organizations hire vulnerable people who have low literacy levels, unemployed or low income, particularly the tribals, building up their cadre. This creates a positive feedback loop of recruitment of youth into LWE.
- Threatening Democracy: They resort to violence through their guerrilla tactics and attempt to set up their own government in the local villages. They threaten the locals before the conduct of elections and prevent them from voting. This violates the principle of participative democracy.
- The armed forces are not fully aware of the physiography of the local areas and upper hand lies with the Naxalites.
- There is lack of participation of local population in the development of the region and they are more close to the Maoist rather than government administration.
Government Initiatives to Check Naxal Activities:
- Aspirational Districts Programme: Launched in 2018, it aims to rapidly transform the districts that have shown relatively less progress in key social areas.
- SAMADHAN (2017):
It stands for
S- Smart Leadership,
A- Aggressive Strategy,
M- Motivation and Training,
A- Actionable Intelligence,
D- Dashboard Based KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KRAs (Key Result Areas),
H- Harnessing Technology,
A- Action plan for each Theatre, and
N- No access to Financing.
This doctrine is the one-stop solution for the LWE problem. It encompasses the entire strategy of government from short-term policy to long-term policy formulated at different levels. Its main aim was to ensure participatory governance and protection of the rights of local tribals, inter alia. Intelligence sharing and raising of a separate 66 Indian Reserved Battalion (IRBs) were done by the government to curb the menace of LWE organizations.
- National Policy and Action Plan in 2015: It consists of a multi-pronged approach comprising security measures, development initiatives and ensuring rights & entitlements of local communities.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is supporting the State Governments extensively by way of deployment of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) Battalions, provision of helicopters and UAVs and sanction of India Reserve Battalions (IRBs)/ Special India Reserve Battalions (SIRBs) etc.
- Funds are provided under Modernization of Police Force (MPF), Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme and Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS) for modernization and training of State Police.
- Several development initiatives have been implemented for construction of roads, installation of mobile towers, skill development, improving the network of banks and post offices, health and education facilities.
- Funds for development are also provided to most LWE affected districts under the Special Central Assistance (SCA) scheme.
- Greyhounds: It was raised in 1989 as an elite anti-naxal force.
- Operation Green Hunt: It was started in 2009-10 and massive deployment of security forces was done in the naxal-affected areas.
The government has envisaged SAMADHAN policy to deal with the LWE. If implemented effectively, this doctrine can act as the one-stop solution for the LWE problem, as it encompasses the entire strategy of government from short-term policy to long-term policy formulated at different levels.