The planning process, since independence, in our country has accelerated economic growth, substantially reduced poverty and improved the quality of people’s lives. Some of the achievements stand out as examples for the other developing countries. Yet, there are many critical areas like poverty eradication, employment generation and fighting an insurgency need utmost priority and public action.
Both the central and state governments have been coming up with many policies, programs and schemes for the benefit of its targeted groups and for overall development while most of them are with no time-bound programme. Our development strategy must focus on consolidating the gains we have achieved so far and reinforcing our strengths and addressing our weaknesses.
Is the time still not ripe to focus our attention on fully exploiting the existing potentialities in all the sectors of our economy with a time bound programs of concrete action? Is there any dispute that the planning process has not so far been able to address adequately the specific requirements of the backward areas and regions in different states which need a special focus and attention?
“Time-bound” development of infrastructure like power, roads, ports, railways and telecommunications is extremely critical to our development process. Lack of time-bound programs, in any scheme or projects, is detrimental. There is an urgent need to critically review the existing policies and procedures so that schemes and policies can be implemented in a time-bound manner.
Some other schemes like distribution of subsidised rice and wheat to a vast section of people living below poverty-line appears good for the needy, but our experience in many states, including Chhattisgarh shows that they have an adverse effect in the long run. Many of the beneficiaries have stopped working and boozing is also on the rise.
As far as left-wing extremism in states like Chhattisgarh is concerned, there is an urgent need to have a time-bound programme for socio-economic and infrastructural development in Maoist affected areas even while the state fights with rebels militarily. Every time after rebels unleash violence, government talk about a decisive action without a specific time-frame.
Over the last three decades, huge funds have been pumped into the Maoist affected tribal areas, both for policing and for development. Secret funds, which the police use for their intelligence purpose, still remain unaudited because of the sensitive nature of the tasks for which it is meant. There have been complaints in the past about the gross misuse of this fund hence its utilization needs to be audited by a body like the CAG, without bringing its outcome in the public domain.
Again, there is a need for action to check corruption in police establishments, especially when it comes to policing in troubled areas. There appears to be a vicious cycle. When Maoist activities increase, more funds will flow to those troubled areas and will be at the disposal of authorities concerned at all levels.
A comprehensive national policy with time bound to deal with Naxalism is long overdue as it affects, not just Chhattisgarh, but more than approximate 200 districts spread over in many states. It is high-time that the Modi government at the center realize it and start taking special measures to save people live in troubled areas.