What is the best approach to solve India's Maoist problem?

10 May 2017 | By Anupama Vijayakumar

Responses to Left Wing Extremism (LWE) in India have heavily leaned towards security centric approaches, as seen through increased deployment of paramilitary forces and combing operations.

However, in an interview with the Daily News and Analysis (DNA), District Magistrates and Police Superintendents in 35 worst LWE-affected districts, opine that the menace can be tackled by ensuring better economic and social development.

In context: Responses to Maoism: Should security trump development?

AboutWhat is Left Wing Extremism?

Left Wing Extremism encompasses extremist acts intended to wipe out capitalist societies, with an aim to replace them with communist systems.

The ultimate aim of LWE in India is to achieve the "armed overthrow of the Indian state."

The movement aims to build people's armies and establish bases in order to drain out the Indian state and attain decisive victory over the Indian army.

10 May 2017What is the best approach to solve India's Maoist problem?

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What do they say?

DetailsWhat do they say?

According to many officials interviewed, the recent surge in violence can be attributed to the centre's decision to discontinue development assistance under the Integrated Action Plan (IAP). Officials further noted that they have requested the centre to resume IAP.

Further, an SP from Jharkhand noted that security-centric approaches are not a one stop solution, as building of excesses prompt tribals to join Maoists.

AboutWhat is the Integrated Assistance Programme?

IAP is a central government assistance programme where Rs. 30 crore is annually provided to districts identified as worst affected by LWE by the Ministry of Home Affairs, on the basis of various parameters including violence profile and local logistical support to Maoists.

Under the programme, a district level committee including the DM and SP is tasked with utilizing the funds for developmental purposes.

Government shortens the list

While in 2016, 44 districts were identified as worst affected by LWE, the centre reconstituted the list of Maoist-affected districts in 2016, by about a fifth, reducing the number of districts eligible for the IAP, after carrying out a two year long review.

ConclusionWhat does this imply?

As seen through India's fight against LWE, while hardcore security approach focuses on solving the immediate crisis at hand, it fails to resolve the root cause of the issue, i.e. lack of development.

Maoism feeds on people's disillusionment with the democratic system. The menace will undoubtedly continue to thrive in the absence of schemes like the IAP, which helps build government credibility through development.

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BackgroundWhy is this important?

While ideology and external factors are at play, LWE is seen to have become most established in districts with an administrative vacuum brought about by a lack of good governance.

Moreover, unscientific development practices, including mushrooming of the mining companies in states including Orissa and Chhattisgarh is said to have displaced a number of tribals, further marginalizing them and creating resentment.