Violence is being steadily eclipsed by development works in Naxalism-hit districts whereby, the Narendra Modi-led NDA Government has given a drubbing to Maoist agenda on all the fronts, simultaneously working towards ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’
In a significant indicator of the shrinking arc of influence of Left-wing extremists (LWE), the Government has removed 44 districts from the list of 126 Naxalism-hit districts while adding eight districts, including three in Kerala, as a “pre-emptive” measure. The number of worst-affected districts has also gone down from 35 to 30, with three districts in Jharkhand and two districts in Bihar no longer in the list. As compared to data of 2010, 2016 reflected a decline of 53% in number of violent incidents and 72% in resultant deaths and the trend continued in 2017 and 2018. After the launch of the new initiative SAMADHAN in 2017, the Government has tirelessly worked towards addressing the improvement in the ‘Development and Key Performance Indicator’ in Naxalism-hit districts.
“We have to bring aggression in our policy, thinking, strategy, deployment of forces, operations and in bringing development, including road construction”
—Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister
The recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bastar on 127th birth anniversary of Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar is a great example. Modi inaugurated India"s first health and wellness centre under the ambitious Ayushman Bharat scheme—the world’s largest government funded health programme and other developmental projects in Jangla village of Bijapur district—a Maoist stronghold area of south Chhattisgarh—which certainly will change the discourse of security in the region.
Though the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had initiated National Rural Health Mission to enhance state of health of rural poor but due to the scams, the health issue remained sidelined. Under the National Health Protection Mission, the Ayushman Bharat scheme, an insurance policy, 10 crore poor and vulnerable families will be covered and provided with a cover of Rs 5 lakh per household per year for secondary and tertiary hospitalisation. As the people of South Bastar are facing high child mortality, death at the time of pregnancy, lack of vaccination and other chronic health problems, this health scheme will prove panacea for them.
PM Modi also inaugurated the first phase of Bastar Net Project of Chhattisgarh government, which aims to provide internet facility to the remote regions of Bastar division. This project will not only help the local people in connecting with rest of the world but also help the security forces in tackling the Maoists. PM also inaugurated the Van Dhan Yojana, which aims at empowering Vanvasi communities. He laid the foundation stone for the construction of 1,988 km of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) roads and other road connectivity projects, water supply scheme of Bijapur and two bridges.
Besides this, PM Modi gave green signal to the Gudum-Bhanupratappur rail-service; which is part of the Dallirajhra-Rowghat railway project, announced by him earlier at his first visit to Bastar in May 2015. Previously, this region had only one rail line from Vishakhapatanam to Kirandul. This ambitious railway project will help in connecting with the people of north Bastar and address the problem of road communication for Raipur, for which the people of region use to pay at least Rs 150, but now they will have to pay only Rs 35.
Democracy and Maoists
As first ever PM who visited Bijapur, Narendra Modi, again proved that he is the Pradhan Sevak who is striving to realise the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi and Deendayal Upadhyaya. It’s not a coincidence that the ambitious health plan has been started on Dr Ambedkar’s birth anniversary, who believed that the State can play an important role in the economic development.
S —Smart Policing and Leadership; A —Aggressive Strategy, M —Motivation and Training, A —Actionable Intelligence; D —Dashboard for Development and Key Performance Indicators, H —Harnessing Technology for Development and Security, A —Action Plan for each Theatre and N —No access to Financing
DASHBOARD FOR DEVELOPMENT AND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS —743 Scheduled Tribes candidates from 4 most affected LWE districts of Chhattisgarh-Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur and Sukma have been recruited in Bastariya Battallion in order to enhance local representation in Security Forces. Opening of Kendriya Vidyalayas and Skill Development Centres in LWE affected districts is another development measure. 1,789 new branch post offices, 405 bank branches and 818 ATMs have also been opened in 35 most LWE affected districts during the last two years. The number is on a rise every day.
Under Road Requirement Plan-I (RRP-I) construction of 4,447 km roads has been completed out of 5,422 km road envisaged under the Plan till July 31, 2017. A new Plan, i.e. Road Connectivity Project for LWE affected areas (RRP-II), has been approved which envisages construction of 5,412 km roads and 126 bridges in 44 districts of LWE affected States at an estimated cost of Rs 11,725 crore. 2,199 mobile towers were installed in LWE affected states and additional 2726 mobile towers in Phase –II of the scheme are to be installed.
Prime Minister’s choice of a remote village with a population of 1,968 for the inauguration of ambitious health and other developmental schemes reinforces the commitment to ‘wipe every tear from every eye’. Perhaps people of Jangla may have heard of Government but seldom seen in the past seven decades. It is the PM Modi alone who has brought the democracy at the doorstep of all those Vanvasi people who remained away from the national discourse on democracy and governance.
Two visits by PM Modi almost in three years in Maoists’ stronghold regions have frustrated them. Their faintheartedness appears in their activities like blasting an empty CRPF camp in Dornapul on the very eve of PM’s visit. Until the State comes closer to its people, the Maoists would receive all kind of success. For a long time the State had maintained a distance from Vanvasi people of Dandakaranya region, which helped the Maoists in spreading their propaganda that ‘the Indian State is oppressive by its nature’.
This Government has clear agenda to engage with the marginalised community to empower them and only all-around well-being of such people would ensure the end of violence. By releasing pamphlet, the Maoists had instructed not to join PM’s rally, but the people of Bijapur and neighbouring districts overlooked that and came to listen to their beloved PM with all enthusiasm. Important thing is that women participated in the rally in a huge number.
(The writer is Assistant Professor, Government PG College, Dwarahat)