Re­boot­ing in­sur­gen­cies


With ex­pe­ri­ence of in­sur­gen­cies in Jammu & Kash­mir, North­east and the Maoist over past decades, it should be clear that the rea­sons for armed dis­sent are mul­ti­far­i­ous. Lack­ing/ab­sent/cor­rupt gov­er­nance, sup­pressed po­lit­i­cal as­pi­ra­tions, de­nied demo­cratic/con­sti­tu­tional rights, jus­tice de­nial, poverty, lack of de­vel­op­ment, reli­gious rad­i­cal­ism and cross-bor­der prox­ies are all part of the co­nun­drum. What is the state of our in­sur­gen­cies and what are we do­ing about it? Poverty al­le­vi­a­tion is not the sole fac­tor in deal­ing with in­sur­gen­cies but it is a vi­tal cat­a­lyst.

In­dia’s stand at Rio+20 to ac­cord prece­dence to poverty al­le­vi­a­tion over green­ing en­vi­ron­ment is laud­able but do we look in­wards? The poor in In­dia has lit­tle time to bother about S&P warn­ing of los­ing in­vest­ment grade rat­ings, Fitch low­er­ing our GDP es­ti­mates to 6.5 per cent with In­dian bonds run­ning risks of fall­ing to junk sta­tus and Dr Man­mo­han Singh blam­ing Eu­ro­zone cri­sis si­mul­ta­ne­ous to RBI Gover­nor point­ing in­dige­nous fault lines. What gravely af­fects him is the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion re­port of only 17 paise reach­ing ground of ev­ery ru­pee spent—some­thing even Ra­jiv Gandhi de­clared as Prime Min­is­ter. Main­tain­ing this rate of 17 per cent over a decade cou­pled with main­tain­ing 134th po­si­tion in the world in HDI (Hu­man De­vel­op­ment In­dex) over last decade are un­par­al­leled proofs of mis-gov­er­nance. At this rate, of the whop­ping ` 1,85,000 crore pur­port­edly spent on poverty al­le­vi­a­tion schemes dur­ing fis­cal year 2011-12, only ` 31,450 crore reached ground level. Bal­ance ` 1,50,550 crore went into what the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion terms as “ad­min­is­tra­tion”. View this ma­trix over last few years and talk to the man on the street. He bluntly tells you “gor­ment in tarikon se agle elec­tion ke lie paise ikatha kar rahi hai” (us­ing these mea­sures, gov­ern­ment col­lects funds for next elec­tion) for which coun­try in the world milks 83 per cent poverty al­le­vi­a­tion funds be­fore reach­ing the poor? Same is his com­ment about the un­prece­dented hike in fuel prices while ev­ery neigh­bour­ing coun­try pro­vides it cheaper. Com­mon man talks about the po­lit­i­cal game of buy­ing votes and co­erc­ing sup­port through CBI in­quiries that cease or pro­long un­end­ingly once sup­port is gar­nered. Dr Man­mo­han Singh may show con­cern about in­dus­trial out­put but if you talked to small scale in­dus­tri­al­ists two years back they told you they were shut­ting shop be­cause cheap Chi­nese goods have flooded our mar­kets. Yet we do lit­tle about cor­rect­ing the im­bal­ance in Sino-In­dian bi­lat­eral trade 60:40 in China’s favour.

In­ci­den­tally, Ja­pan does not im­port rice to safe­guard in­dige­nous pro­duce. HDI stand­ings apart, the state of ba­sic pro­vi­sions and ameni­ties in say Maoist ar­eas is de­plorable – drink­ing wa­ter, elec­tric­ity, roads, health, ed­u­ca­tion you name it. Look at the area Bhadrakali en­counter of last year. The so-called NH 220 is no more than a dirt track in places. River Am­ra­vati is crossed in a makeshift ferry that barely takes four per­sons and a scooter per trip.

The re­cent doc­u­ment Non­align­ment 2.0 states, “The fun­da­men­tal source of In­dia’s power in the world is go­ing to be the power of its ex­am­ple. If In­dia can main­tain high growth rates, lever­age that growth to en­hance the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of all its cit­i­zens, and main­tain ro­bust demo­cratic tra­di­tions and in­sti­tu­tions, there are few lim­its to In­dia’s global role and influence.” We don’t seem to be fo­cus­ing on any of those “ifs”. Se­cu­rity forces can at best lower vi­o­lence lev­els. Bal­ance has to come through good gov­er­nance. No mat­ter gov­ern­ment ad­mis­sions, Maoists have af­fected 180 dis­tricts in 16 states (35 per cent pop­u­la­tion in 40 per cent area) and are es­tab­lish­ing ur­ban bases. Fudg­ing be­low poverty line fig­ures through un­sus­tain­able bench­marks can hardly help. Ig­nor­ing the pop­u­la­tion (cen­tre of grav­ity in any in­sur­gency) amounts to re­boot­ing in­sur­gen­cies. The views ex­pressed herein are the per­sonal views of the au­thor.

Man­gled re­mains of a CRPF bul­let-proof ve­hi­cle that was blasted by the Maoists in Bi­japur, Ch­hat­tis­garh

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