Patna: Asserting that fight against Left wing extremism was a joint responsibility of the Centre as well as the states, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday flagged the need for a change in the existing policy which put the entire financial burden of deployment of central forces in naxal-infested areas on the concerned state governments.
Speaking at a review meeting on Left Wing Extremism (LWE) held in the national capital and chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Kumar warned against the proposed discontinuance of Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS) from the next financial year and called for broadening the scope and increasing grants for modernisation of police forces.
I would like to draw your attention towards the policy of central government of charging all expenses to states on account of deployment of central armed police forces for operations. The fight against left wing extremists to maintain internal security is the joint responsibility of state and central governments, Kumar said in his speech, text of which was made available here.
Therefore, it is our request that this expense be jointly shared by both the governments. At the same time, I would like to clarify that Bihar government has always been prompt in making payments on time to the MHA on this account, the chief minister said.
He also said we have learnt that central government has decided to stop the SIS after financial year 2019-2020. We had expected that the central government would further strengthen these schemes and increase the allocation of resources.
"The stoppage of funding for SIS will adversely affect the undergoing development work in the LWE affected districts. Therefore, we would like to stress that the central government should continue this scheme.
About the modernisation of police forces (MPF) scheme, Kumar said "structuring and scope of the scheme should be expanded to meet new challenges" and added by way of protest "on the contrary, the central government has reduced funding under the plan component of MPF schemes".
"In this scheme, the funding pattern for Bihar has been 60:40 (centre:state). For a state having limited resources like Bihar, this ratio should be made 90:10. Apart from this, the structure of this scheme should be changed from annual plan to long term plan, so that state governments can make comprehensive plans for better policing", he added.
Speaking about the measures being taken for choking of flow of funds to outlawed Maoist outfits, Kumar said "we had submitted a proposal to the central government that this power of confiscation of property (currently vested only in the Enforcement Directorate) worth up to Rs five crore be extended to an officer of the rank of Inspector General of Police in a state also".
"The proposal was turned down by the central government. The state government again requests that central government should reconsider the proposal of the state government in order to effectively check money laundering, Kumar added.
Under the federal structure of the country, the centre cannot relegate itself to merely reviewing role, throwing the ball in the court of states for taking effective action to neutralize this threat of LWE which has emerged as a challenge to internal security. If effective steps in real sense are to be taken, then mere discussion with states will not suffice, the chief minister remarked curtly.
The ultimate objective cannot be achieved if needs of states are not adequately addressed. Financial grants will need to be continued for the schemes initiated earlier such as
Special Infrastructure Scheme, modernisation of police forces and their size and scope will need to be broadened.
"In case the centre decides to discontinue them or reduce grants that will have detrimental effect on fight against LWE. Similarly, charging the states with 100 percent financial burden for deployment of central security forces is also devoid of logic. The ultimate objective cannot be achieved if needs of states are not adequately addressed", Kumar said.
"It shall not be out of place to mention that whenever our state raises the issue of continuation of financial assistance in central sponsored schemes on the same scale as was being done earlier or demand for more resources is raised, the central government refuses to entertain them saying that as per the recommendations of 14th Finance Commission state is being given more funds and we have to remain content with that, he lamented.
In this regard, we have regularly apprised the central government, with supporting data that, of the fact that be it tax share or grant, the resources to Bihar state have reduced considerably owing to 14th Finance Commission recommendations.
"Fight against left wing extremism is a joint responsibility of centre and state. Therefore the financial burden should also be shared by both, the chief minister added by way of a parting note.