Long Overdue

A Rs 25,000 crore financial boost comes for internal security and police reforms

Aditya Kakkar

The government on September 27 approved Rs 25,000 crore internal security scheme to strengthen the country’s law and order mechanism and mordernise the police, home minister Rajnath Singh said after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

Army soldiers securing the location after the encounter

The panel, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the implementation of an umbrella scheme between 2017-18 and 2019-20 to modernise the police. Of the Rs 25,060 crore, the Centre will spend Rs 18,636 crore, and the states’ share will be Rs 6,424 crore. The home minister said that under the security scheme, a central budget outlay of Rs 10,132 crore had been set aside for Jammu and Kashmir, the Northeastern states and those affected by Left-Wing Extremism (LWE).

Now let us consider the various internal threats to India. There is long-standing insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir. There exist various secessionist and rebel movements in the Northeast and Eastern regions of India. Left-Wing Extremism in red corridor states, while diminished over the years, still holds sway. We have a simmering conflict on our western border, which spills over into northern sectors.

There is inadequate attention being paid to strengthening the internal security apparatus while there is no long-term sustained policy for Jammu and Kashmir. Also, we don’t have a strategic vision to tackle the Maoist insurgency. SMART police could never take off because of the indifference of the states, policing being a state subject. The spending on internal security is eating into our war chest against poverty, illiteracy, sanitation, climate change, infrastructure development, self-sufficiency in food, energy and ironically even defence. Urgent equipment purchases, which have to be affected in times of war, kill the life cycle required for indigenous production or even adaptation of those technologies. India is able to build sophisticated space-capable missiles, but unable to develop an all-purpose, fully satisfactory, assault rifle. The former technology was denied to us for decades and we were forced to develop it, while the latter could be purchased off-the-shelf from world markets in every war-like situation. Several committees, reports, study groups and think tanks later have highlighted various reasons behind poor internal security like — inefficiency of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) units/public sector undertakings (PSUs), cumbersome procurement processes, adversarial inter-ministerial relationships, corruption-plagued history etc.

Both the US and the UK revise their national security doctrines every year and place them in the public domain. India, too, should do the same. The government recently brought in a new formula of SAMADHAN to tackle the Naxal threat. S stands for smart leadership, A for aggressive strategy, M for motivation and training, A for actionable intelligence, D for dashboard-based key performance indicators and key result areas, H for harnessing technology, A for action plan for each theatre and N for no access to financing. But a mere acronym won’t eradicate LWE.

Jammu sector has witnessed quite a few instances of successful infiltration by terrorists during the past couple of years as a prelude to attacks on strategic installations — prominent among these being the Pathankot and Uri terrorist attacks in 2016. These incidents have not only raised serious concerns about the efficacy of the existing border security system in thwarting such breaches but also a consequent demand for the deployment of high-tech border surveillance equipment by the Border Security Force (BSF).

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