Prime Minister’s Address at Meeting of CMs of Naxal Affected States

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INVC,,

Delhi,,

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh chaired the meeting of Chief Ministers of Naxal affected states in New Delhi today. Following is the text of the PM’s speech on the occasion:

“I am very happy to welcome you.

Over the past few years, we have met a number of times to discuss issues relating to internal security and left wing extremism. As a result, it has been possible to develop a more coordinated approach, both between the states and between the centre and the states. Matters have improved vis-a-vis intelligence sharing, deployment of Central Para Military Forces, augmentation of state police forces, provision of funds under central schemes, etc. However, more needs to be done.

Though law and order is primarily a state subject, the ramifications of the problem of Left Wing Extremism call for sustained coordination between the Centre and the States not only regarding the overall strategy but even on the regular operational issues. In particular, we need greater coordination and cooperation in crucial matters like intelligence gathering and intelligence sharing. Each state has a different set of problems, administrative arrangements, strengths and weaknesses and, therefore, there is also a need for a state specific approach. The action plans that the states have prepared could perhaps be made more detailed keeping this in view.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has circulated a detailed agenda note. I look forward to your considered response on each of the items in it. On the development side, we hope to discuss matters in greater detail in the NDC meeting scheduled for the 24th of this month. However, I would like to mention here a few points related to the development of tribal areas, which is a special obligation that the Constitution bestows upon us. These areas have lagged behind the rest of the country so far and this state of affairs needs to be changed. Our tribal populations have traditionally depended upon the forests for their livelihoods and we must ensure that this link does not get disrupted without alternate means of livelihood being made available. Any development of tribal areas must also ensure that the tribal population has a stake in it, even after it has been adequately compensated for displacement. For far too long have our tribal brothers and sisters seen the administration in the form of a rapacious forest guard, a brutal policeman, a greedy patwari. It is time that we provided a better delivery of services, one which is sensitive and caring to the needs and concerns of the tribal population for effective livelihood strategies on a sustainable basis.

I would particularly like to stress the need for properly manning all posts in areas affected by Left Wing Extremism. Without adequate and reasonably efficient staff, it would be difficult to implement any strategy or programme for these areas. I would urge the Chief Ministers present here to set up a group under the Chief Secretary to evaluate the vacancy position, develop an appropriate incentive package for posting in difficult areas and thereafter ensure deployment in a time-bound manner. Perhaps we could target filling up one third of the vacancies within the next six months.

On the security side, the state forces obviously will have to be further strengthened, though the position has improved in the past few years. I also think that we need more young men and women from these areas in our security forces. I would appreciate your thoughts in this regard. There is also need to improve the infrastructure in the police stations.

In case there are issues regarding intelligence sharing or the pattern or nature of CPMF deployment, I would like to hear them. There are other very useful ideas in the agenda notes and I would welcome your suggestions on them. My esteemed cabinet colleagues, Pranabji and Anthonyji are also here and we will have the benefit of their enormous experience during the course of our discussions.

Before I close, I must reiterate that we cannot afford to let inter-personal issues come in the way of our strategy to tackle Left Wing Extremism. We must be and also appear to be united and one in our resolve and in execution of our strategies. In particular, I would emphasize the urgent necessity for the central and state forces to work with total coordination and without any misunderstanding about each other.

I once again welcome you all as we begin discussions in this meeting.”

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