Maoist violence that is spread across many states and is considered one of the biggest threat to internal security, have claimed nearly 12,000 lives in the last 20 years, most of them innocent civilians. Of the 12,000 people that were killed in Naxal-related incidents, as many as 9,300 were civilians who were either killed by the Maoists, after being labelled as 'police informers', or were victims in crossfire. According to a statistics prepared by the home ministry, security forces also suffered a huge loss in the war against Left Wing Extremism (LWE), losing 2,700 personnel in the last two decades.
However, the violence perpetrated by the Naxals has declined by 25 per cent in last three years, notwithstanding occasional reverses suffered by the security forces. There has been a decline of 25 per cent in LWE-related violence and casualties to security forces dropped by as much as 42 per cent during May 2014-April 2017 as compared to May 2011-April 2014, a home ministry official said.
The April 24 assault on a CRPF road opening party that claimed lives of 25 personnel was the deadliest since the April 2010 attack in Dantewada, also in Chhattisgarh, in which 76 personnel were killed.
The elimination of Naxal cadres rose by a sharp 65 per cent and the surrenders by the extremists recorded 185 per cent increase, the official said. The home ministry officials said currently 90 per cent of Maoist activities were limited to 35 districts, though they
have a hold over pockets in 68 districts in 10 states.
To tackle the menace of left wing extremism, the central government has launched the 'National Policy and Action Plan' comprising of security, development and ensuring rights and entitlements of the local communities.
Under this plan, as many as 307 fortified police stations were constructed in Naxal-hit areas in last three years.
Besides, 1,391 km roads were constructed in some of the most difficult areas under the road requirement plan phase-I.
A total of 5,412 km of additional roads were approved for construction in nine Naxal-hit areas at a cost of Rs 11,725 crore.
While 2,187 mobile towers were installed for improving telephone connectivity in remote areas, 2,882 more are in the process of installation.
Altogether 358 new banks were opened, 752 ATMs were installed and 1,789 post offices were approved for opening in these Maoist affected states as part of the government's plans to improve financial inclusion in 35 worst hit districts.
The home ministry has already approached the finance ministry for additional funds for extension of several development schemes which were executed in Naxal-hit states. The security related expenditure (SRE) scheme, special infrastructure scheme (SIS), integrated action plan (IAP) and a few other schemes will be extended for a few more years if the finance ministry's approval is received, the official said.
Under the SRE scheme, funds are provided for meeting the recurring expenditure relating to insurance, training and operational needs of the security forces, rehabilitation of left wing extremist cadres who surrender in accordance with the surrender and rehabilitation policy, security related infrastructure for village defence committees.
The SIS in left wing extremism affected states was commenced in 11th five-year plan (2008-09 to 2011-12) with an outlay of Rs 500 crore to cater to critical infrastructure gaps of security forces which could not be covered under any other scheme.
During the period, under the scheme, another amount of Rs 460 crore was allocated of which Rs 445.82 crore was released to the nine left wing extremism affected states for meeting the objects related to requirements of mobility of the police, security forces by upgrading existing roads/tracks in inaccessible areas, measures to enhance security in respect of police stations/outposts located in vulnerable areas.
The scheme was extended to the 12th five year plan period on April 4, 2013 with an outlay of Rs 373 crore, comprising Rs 280 crore (75 per cent) as central share and Rs 93 crore (25 per cent) as state share.
Rs 122.13 crore were released to the Naxal-hit states during 2013-14 and 2014-15 for upgradation of training infrastructure, weaponry, equipment and fill up critical infrastructure gap of special forces of the states.
The scheme has been discontinued from central assistance from 2015-16 as per recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission.
The IAP or additional central assistance (ACA) for left wing extremism affected districts was commenced by the Planning Commission (now NITI Aayog) in 2010-11 covering 60 tribal and backward districts for accelerated development by providing public infrastructure and services.
During 2010-11, Rs 25 crore per district were provided to 60 districts which enhanced to Rs 30 crore per district per year from 2011-12. The scheme was extended to 82 districts in 2012.
From 2012-13, the scheme was renamed as additional central assistance (ACA) for left wing affected districts and extended to 88 districts covering 76 LWE affected districts.
The major works/projects included under IAP/ACA relate to construction of school building, anganwadi centres, drinking water facilities, construction of rural roads, panchayat bhawans, livelihood activities, skill development etc.
This scheme of ACA was under implementation up to 2014-15 and discontinued from the central assistance from the financial year 2015-16.
Upto January 7, 2016 an amount of Rs 9,059 crore has been released under IAP/ACA scheme of which Rs 8,711.90 crore has been incurred. Out of the total 1,64,859 projects taken up, 1,39,729 projects have been completed by January 7.
(With PTI inputs)