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“Security and Development: An Appraisal of the Red Corridor”

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  • Published
    18th Oct, 2019

UPSC Exam is all about proper strategy, dedication and consistent endeavour in the right direction with authentic and reliable study material. Government and renowned international reports form a very important source for grasping the conceptual clarity of contemporary national and international issues/topics. However, it is a daunting task to comprehend a report that runs through hundreds of pages. It becomes difficult for the students in time crunch situations particularly during UPSC Mains Examinations.

In order to ease the burden over aspirants, GSSCORE has come up with a series of summary of important national and international reports in a crisp and comprehensive manner. Underlining the importance of reports and indexes for PT and Mains, GSSCORE provides a comprehensive summary of important reports of national and international repute. The summary of the report by GSSCORE would save the time and energy of the UPSC aspirants and enable them to quickly cover the syllabus.

  • The following summary of the report titled “Security and Development: An Appraisal of the Red Corridor is in one among the series of summaries created by GSSCORE on various reports.
  • The report gives us a brief idea on Left wing extremism, History of LWE Movement in India, Current Status, Declining Human Resources and Operational Capacity of the LWE, Mobilization of LWE Supporters in Urban Areas, Government of India’s Approach, Development Initiatives by Government of India, Challenges in LWE Affected Regions, Status of Policing in LWE affected states and the conclusion imperative for UPSC aspirants.
  • Students can download the gist of this report from the Free Resources section of GS SCORE website: https://iasscore.in/free-study-material-downloads


  • Over the last 25 years, India has transformed itself from an impoverished developing country to one that is destined to play a key role in shaping the future, of not only its people, but also those living in this region and beyond.
  • Despite the remarkable growth-story of India over the last few decades, the country continues to face many challenges on the internal security front -the Maoist movement, also known as the Naxalite uprising and in recent years as Left Wing Extremism (LWE), being the most serious one, that is severely impacting the developmental efforts of the state in the affected districts.
  • LWE has emerged as a politico-socio-economic challenge, making it a complex phenomenon that cannot be effectively tackled only through the use of kinetic methods.
  • In other words, it’s not a mere law and order problem. In the recent past, though the area of influence of the LWE movement has been gradually shrinking and incidences of violence are significantly coming down, LWE continues to pose a major security challenge for India along with its socio-economic-political ramifications.
  • Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had described it as ‘India’s biggest internal security challenge ever’. Recognising the LWE movement as a serious problem, PM Modi also urged the ultras to, “shun the gun for a few days and visit the families affected by their violence”. “Those children would certainly inspire misguided youth to lay down arms forever…This experiment will force you to change your heart and make you shun your violent means”.
  • The Naxalite movement began from the small village of Naxalbari situated at the tri-junction of India, Nepal and then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), where in 1967, a group of tribals picked up arms against the oppression of the landlord.
  • However, initially, the movement was restricted only to the three police station areas of Naxalbari, Khoribari and Phasidewa in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal.
  • Later, over the decades that followed, the movement assumed alarming proportions, threatening peace and security over a vast stretch of land spread across 10 states, described as ‘Red Corridor’.
  • The Chinese Communist Party welcomed the formation of CPI-ML in India, as it encouraged it in other countries like UK, Albania and Sri Lanka, where it accorded recognition to Indian CPI-ML. Since then a steady rise in the communist movement drawing inspiration largely from the Maoist ideology was observed.
  • This party, due to its violent activities made its presence felt amongst other political parties. The rise of CPI-ML made the government conscious of the fact, that it was not only a law and order threat, but that its agenda was more sinister, challenging the very existence of the democratic structure of India.
  • Reallocation of land resources;
  • Ensuring minimum wages for the labour working in the farms;
  • Running a parallel government and impose tax and penalties;
  • Run parallel Kangaroo Courts;
  • Destruction of government property and abduct its officials;
  • Attacks on police and law enforcing machinery;
  • Over the years, at the peak of the LWE movement, nearly 40 per cent of India’s land mass, covering approximately 35 per cent of its population, was affected.
  • According to a recent security review by the Ministry of Home Affairs, (MHA), violence in LWE affected region is now spans 90 districts across 10 states.
  • In 2017, a total of 263 fatal casualties were recorded and 1888 CPI-Maoists cadres were arrested, which is the highest till now.
  • The state-wide classification of the most affected districts is as below.

  • The recovery of huge caches of arms (automatic and semi-automatic) and relentless intelligence based counter-insurgency operations conducted in the dense forests and remote locations in LWE affected states have adversely impacted the Maoist firepower.
  • This, coupled with people-centric developmental activities undertaken by the state, has encouraged a large number of LWE cadres to shun the path of violence and join the mainstream.
  • Successful implementation of various development initiatives focusing on critical issues of Jal (water), Jamin (land) and Jungle (forest), has been perhaps the single most important factor in making it difficult for the LWE movement to attract large numbers of fresh recruits.
  • It may be mentioned here, that some villagers in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra launched a mass protest against Maoist appeal to observe a martyr’s week from 2018.
  • These incidents signify the rising levels of disenchantment with the Maoists and to an extent, the absence of effective leadership at the grass-root level. Interrogations of recently arrested and surrendered cadres, also endorse the growing resentment against the CPI-M leadership among the lower and mid-rank members. The cadres believe that higher ranks of CPIM have become money minded and do not much care for the ideology of the Party.
  • Concurrently, even when the LWE movement is under intense pressure, because of a combination of proactive security and effective development measures, a steady rise in pro-Naxal activities in urban India is being observed.
  • The recent trend of strong coordination between parent organisations like the CPI-Maoists and other like-minded organisations is being reflected in the various programmes carried out by these organisations, against the alleged state violence and for protection of democratic rights like displacement of local communities.
  • It remained the main rationale for mobilisation for civil society organisations like the Niyamgiri Suraksha Samitee, actively agitating in the Niyamgiri Hills area and the Jharkhand Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan, a front of CPI-M agitating against amendments to the Chhotanagpur and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Acts.
  • In this backdrop, a systematic approach was initiated by the CPI-M to mobilise resources and achieve the following objectives through urban mobilisation, taking advantage of their anonymity in the urban centres.
    • Mobilise masses and strengthen organisational structures – Under this programme, the Maoists mainly targeted students, workers, middle-class employees, and focused on social issues like women’s rights, the grievances of Dalits, and religious minorities and politicised issues in accordance with the communist ideology.
    • Develop a United Front – Another component of the above strategy was to unify like-minded organisations of workers, students from urban localities, organisations opposing globalisation, etc and to consolidate them.
    • Military Task – The military wings of CPI-M, PGI and PLGA, were to carry out the military tasks in the rural and least developed regions of the country while the urban Naxals were to complement their efforts by recruiting cadres and sending them into the countryside, infiltrating ‘enemy’ ranks, creating unions in crucial industries, sabotaging actions with the support of armed cadres, arranging financial and logistical support for armed cadres hiding in the remote localities.
  • The traditional response of the state to the Naxal issue has been quite one-sided, relying on a ‘security’ approach – taking Naxalism as something than could be tackled through a larger and better equipped security machinery. But this approach fails to address the root cause of the Naxalism issue.
  • As the limits of this approach are becoming obvious, a new mindset is beginning to define the government’s approach. This has three distinct pillars – security, development and political mobilisation.
    • Security Pillar - with greater focus, more resources, better-equipped security forces and better coordination between the centre and the states, we are beginning to see a reduction in incidence of extreme left-wing violence. Some so-called ‘liberated’ zones like Saranda in Jharkhand have also been re-captured from the Naxals. We need greater representation of local people in the police and paramilitary forces; this is essential to bridge the trust deficit. Second, we need a better understanding of local social and tribal networks and need to make the local tribal leadership our allies. This goes beyond the current approach of treating some tribals as ‘informers’– it will require a proactive effort to engage with local communities, and proper sensitization and training of the security forces.
    • Development pillar - Ensuring that basic infrastructure and public services – roads,functioning health centres and schools,etc. – reach deep into these areas. Just like in the police, we have to ensure greater participation of local human resources – the local administration must be given the flexibility to hire locals to deliver public services. the administration must work closely with local NGOs and Community Based Organisationa (CBOs), many of whom are doing stellar work in adverse conditions for several decades, and have well-developed relationships of trust with local communities. Sustainable livelihood opportunities for tribals need to be expanded. Tribals must be given access to minor forest produce, especially bamboo, a hugely lucrative commodity.
    • Political pillar - creating conditions for political engagement, bringing locals into the political mainstream as partners and decision-makers. Political parties have an important role here – they must conduct local membership drives and provide opportunities to local leadership in state politics. The recent push to conduct elections to Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in many of these areas is a step in the right direction, but many states like Jharkhand have a long way to go. Political engagement also requires that tribals have more secure property rights and a greater say in local decisions, especially those relating to their land and livelihoods. A number of recent legislations have made a start – Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act (PESA) and the Forest Right Act for example. The proposed Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Bill, 2011, will also ensure a greater role for local communities in land-related decisions, especially in Schedule V and VI areas.
  • Review Mechanism: For effective implementation of the NPAP, the MHA established a robust mechanism under which timely reviews are conducted and policies and strategies are amended or fine-tuned.
  • SAMADHAN-A Comprehensive Policy Tool: an integrated strategy through which LWE can be countered with full force and competence. This is a compilation of short term and long-term policies formulated at different levels.
  • Tracking Flow of Weapons: Real-time technical intelligence plays a decisive role in any proactive counter-insurgency force and its timely receipt defines the strength of that force. In developing these capabilities, the MHA has deployed at least one Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or Mini-UAV for each CAPF battalions. More helicopter support is provided for CAPFs to rush in supplies and reinforcements.
  • Tracking Finances: Apart from robust kinetic measures, a pre-emptive approach warrants limiting the resources of LWE movement and its cadres through effective coordination and thorough investigation.
  • Multi-agency Approach: the Ministry of Home Affairs has set up a Multi-Disciplinary Group (MDG) comprising officers from the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), NIA, Central Board of Direct Taxation (CBDT), CRPF and the state police as well as their Special Branches, Criminal Investigation Departments (CIDs) and other state units. This group is utilised by the MHA as a forum for evolving a well-coordinated approach for handling prolonged national security challenges.
  • Bastariya Battalion: the CRPF has decided to enhance local representation in its combat layout deployed in the Bastar area to provide the ‘Bastariya’ youth better avenues of employment under its Civic Action Programme.
  • Road Connectivity Schemes: The Road Requirement Plan is being implemented by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways with the objective of better connectivity in 34 LWE affected districts of nine states.
  • Data Connectivity: The Department of Telecom is proactively implementing schemes for better data connectivity of LWE affected states with the rest of the country. These efforts are yielding constructive results, helping the security forces with better data connectivity for executing counter-insurgency operations successfully.
  • Electrification Initiatives in LWE Districts: The Ministry of Power has proactively started the electrification of the villages in the LWE affected districts under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY).
  • Employment Initiatives: Along with several infrastructural schemes, the Government of India is also executing several schemes under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY) that are empowering the citizens with the required skill sets to earn their livelihood. Under this programme 47 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and 68 Skill Development Centres (SDCs) are to be established.
  • GoI has approved ₹1000 cr per annum for three years to all 35 LWE affected districts, (though this number has gone down to 30) to bridge the gap in critical infrastructure.
  • The Security Related Scheme has been extended till 2020, to strengthen state special forces in 10 LWE affected states.
  • The Special Infrastructure Scheme which was closed after the recommendations of 14th Finance Commission has been revived as a reimbursement scheme under the umbrella scheme of ‘Modernization of Police Force’ with an outlay of ₹1048 cr for three years. The outlay is on a 60:40 basis between the Centre and states.
  • Apart from these development initiatives, the Government of India is implementing the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. Under this initiative two skill development related schemes - Roshni and Skill Development Schemes - in 34 LWE affected districts have been launched by the Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Labor and Employment respectively.
  • CAPFs have also started raising their local employment by giving preferences to the people from the LWE affected areas in recruitment.
  • In agriculture, the Central Government is emphasizing on timely implementation of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Minor Forest Produce (MFP) in the affected districts.
  • Ensuring effective governance for the well-being of the affected sections of the population.
  • Transforming the state police into an effective counterinsurgency force.
  • Timely execution and completion of development schemes.
  • Further, the states can also improve governance by playing a constructive role in: Suggesting specific, actionable interventions in existing schemes which are being run by the Central Government in the state.
  • Encouraging civil society and youth to act in a constructive way rather than resorting to mere right based agitations.
  • Unleashing the competitive spirit among all stakeholders.
  • Timely sharing of information on district-specific issues.

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