Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Naxal way...

It is not the budget but the intent that makes the difference

Recently, newspapers have been reporting that the Indian Naxalite Inc is worth a whopping Rs 1000 crore. There have been concerns on account of the growing strength of the Naxalite movement across India for sometime now. Though the government has been largely silent on this issue, there has been regular media reporting on violence and threats to internal security caused by these Naxalites. In fact, apprehensions have mounted after the recent Maoists win in Nepal, which has further added to the worries, as the Nepalese Maoists historically had very strong connections with the Communists in India. In addition, with Nepal border being porous, the chances of threats are bound to go up.
Apprehensions apart, Rs 1000 crore looks like a mammoth amount, but when compared to all that they manage and for the number of households they manage within that sum, it is not only incredible but actually drives home some interesting learnings as well!! Incredible, simply because with multiples of that budget, the governments at the Centre and State have not been able to offer even a fraction of such services. If they could, then Naxalism would not have existed in India. It is needless to say that the rise in Naxalism in a democracy like ours clearly indicates the extent to which our governments have failed to deliver over the years. As a result of such perpetual failure, Naxalism today stands tall on almost 200 districts, in around 13 states across the country. As per various reports, though there are around 10,000 to 15,000 people who form their strong army, over and above them there are thousands of rural and tribal households that the Naxalites have to take care. So with Rs 1000 crore, all they manage is very basic clothing, food, health and other basics of livelihood. Not to forget that quantum of this money goes into buying sophisticated arms and ammunition, setting up intelligence systems and also in fighting cases for those who have been caught by the police. In addition, they also incur huge expenses on transportation and printing their publications and that too without any form of support. And all this they manage with a paltry sum of Rs 1000 crore!!

The question is that when Naxalites can do all of this with some petty amount, why can’t our government do the same and more, as they have much more funds and resources at their disposal? The answer is quite simple and that is – lack of intent!! Obviously with more funds and resources at their disposal, our Governments can do much more than what the Naxalites have done in the tribal belts. So, rather than madly chasing them and sacrificing the lives of thousands of innocent policemen, if the governments, both at the state and the centre, are actually intending to contain the Naxalite movement then they have to actually learn from them and provide bigger and better social security to the tribals across the nation, and that too on a sustained basis so that they can be won over forever!!


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