Areas under specific schemes like Road Requirement Plan (RRP-I) and Road Connectivity Project for LWE affected areas (RCPLWEA).
A special focus has been put on skill development and entrepreneurship among the youth in these areas. As many as 47 ITIs and 68 skill development centres (SDC) have been approved under the “Skill Development Scheme in 47 districts affected by LWE.
For financial inclusion of the local populace in these areas, 1,236 bank branches were opened, 1,077 ATMs installed and 14,230 banking correspondents made functional in most LWE affected districts during the last six years. Further, 4,903 post offices have been approved for LWE affected areas in the last five years, of which, 3,053 are functional.
Apart from the specific schemes for LWE affected areas, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) works in close coordination with other ministries for optimum implementation of the flagship schemes of those ministries in these areas.
The Maoist movement in India is among the longest and most lethal home-grown insurgencies that the world has seen. While the origin of Left-wing extremism in the country goes back to the Telangana peasant rebellion (1946-51), the movement actually took the young republic by storm in 1967.
On May 25 that year, peasants, landless labourers, and Adivasis armed with lathis, arrows and bows undertook daring raids on the granaries of a landlord at the Naxalbari village of West Bengal. The rebellion, quelled by the police in a matter of a few days, gave birth to what would be called the Naxalite movement.
The rebels quickly found support not only in the nearby villages but also from the People’s Republic of China. The Communist Party of China’s mouthpiece, People’s Daily called the event ‘Spring Thunder’ and devoted an entire editorial page highlighting the importance of the Naxalbari incident.
Over several decades, the movement spread across vast geography such that it surpassed all other insurgent activities, including those in the J&K and the Northeast. At its peak, the Naxalites were dominating in more than 200 districts across the country.
The insurgents rapidly enhanced their firepower in terms of regular fighters, arms and ammunition, resources and insurgency expertise. Within a short period of time, the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PGLA), the armed wing of the CPI (Maoist), commissioned a cadre of 20000 regulars of which nearly 10,000 were hardcore fighters.
By the mid-2000s, the Maoists had managed to create full-fledged administrative and military infrastructure in states like Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Bihar and West Bengal.
Among the most dreaded acts of the Maoist insurgency are the Chintalnar massacre of 76 soldiers in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district in April 2010, and the killings of top leaders of the Congress Party in Chhattisgarh’s Jeeram Ghati area in Sukma district in May 2013. These two incidents, besides many other daring attacks on security forces, sounded alarm bells in the ears of the country’s policymakers that the rebels were posing a serious threat to the country’s peace and internal security.
Given that law and order is a state subject, the most crucial counterinsurgency efforts are in the hands of state-level leadership. The Centre supported these efforts with joint strategies, resources, intelligence and coordination. The overall aim has been to complement the state initiatives. The approach was a mix of people empowering and enemy decimating methods to quell the Maoist movement.
While the policy of the UPA governments between 2004 and 2014 was primarily ad hoc and reactive, the NDA Government under Modi adopted a comprehensive approach combining the use of force against armed insurgents with a political overreach to the local population through accelerated development.
As PM Modi put it, “Along with zero tolerance towards violence, we have also focused on a massive push to infrastructure and social empowerment to bring a positive change in the lives of the poor people in these regions.”
During the last seven years, coordinated and concerted efforts from the Centre and Maoist-affected states have brought down Maoist sponsored violence drastically, and resulted in the elimination of many important leaders of the insurgent organisation, reducing their dominance to a handful of tri-junction districts in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha.
After many years of indifference, half-steps and ad hoc measures, India’s Central and state governments have found their foothold against the Maoist insurgency that once may have seemed invincible.
While it may be undeniable that the Maoists still have the strength to make their presence felt in certain regions, it would be grossly untenable to say that they continue to pose an existential threat to the Indian state as they did a decade ago.