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Impact of Modernisation of Police Forces Scheme on Combat Capability of the Police Forces in Naxalism-Affected States

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  • June 26, 2009
    Fellows' Seminar
    Only by Invitation
    1030 to 1300 hrs

    Chair: Kalyan K Mitra
    Discussants: J N Roy and G D Bakshi

    The menace of Left Wing Extremism (LWE), commonly termed as Naxalism and Maoist insurgency has been a major challenge to India’s internal security. As part of its multi-pronged strategy to deal with the menace, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has taken special steps on the security front. Emphasis is also being laid on employing local State Police Forces (SPF) with assistance from Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF) for improving the security environment. However, the security responses of various States to Naxal violence have not been effective, barring limited success in a few States. The failure of security forces to respond rapidly is often attributed to a lack of police combat capability in Naxalism- affected States.

    In order to address the long felt need for police capability building, the Centre as well as State Governments have initiated numerous measures in naxalism-affected States, like raising of special anti-Naxal forces, specialised training to SPFs in counter-insurgency and jungle warfare, providing better arms, ammunition, equipment, communication gadgets, bullet proof vehicles, land-mine proof vehicles, intelligence support, improved infrastructural and resource supports, etc. The Centre has also been implementing the ongoing modernisation of police forces scheme since 2000-01. The scheme has an annual budgetary allocation of Rs.1000 Crores for ten years. Almost eight financial years have passed since this scheme was launched. However, the SPF in most of the Naxal-affected States are still deficient in combat capabilities and unable to take on the Naxalites, as the Naxalite violence and the casualty figure of SPF are still on the rise. Accordingly this paper attempts to answer the following questions:

    • What has been the essence of the ongoing MPF scheme and its impact on police capability building since 2000 in Naxal-affected States?
    • What difficulties are being faced by State police forces while implementing this scheme?
    • Has the provision/allocation under the scheme been adequate to address all the aspects of police combat capacity, so as to make them capable enough to counter Naxalism effectively? If not, what are the deficiencies in the existing scheme, including in implementation?
    • What measures could be undertaken to make the scheme more effective?

    This paper attempts to assess and analyse the impact of present MPF scheme on building police combat capability in Naxal-affected States. In order to realistically assess the impact of the MPF scheme, the paper is focuses on the ongoing MPF scheme in various Naxal-affected states in general and the States of Bihar and Jharkhand in particular which are considered to have the least developed police capability including manpower, resources and training.

    Objective of the MPF Scheme

    • To meet the identified deficiencies in various aspects of police administration worked out by the BPR&D.
    • To reduce the dependence of State Governments on the Army and CPMF.
    • To control internal security and maintain law and order by equipping the State Police Forces adequately and imparting the required training.
    • Balanced development of State Police Forces.

    The focus of the scheme is on strengthening police infrastructure at the cutting edge level by way of construction of secure police stations, equipping police stations with required mobility, modern weaponry, communication equipment, forensic set-up and housing.

    Special Provisions for Naxal-Affected States through MPF

    • Strengthening of Special Branches
    • Strengthening of the police infrastructure in 76 worst-affected Naxal districts
    • Improving Police Training Capability
    • Deployment of CPMF, Raising of India Reserve Battalions (IRBs) and Sanctioning of a Commando Company in each of the 44 IRBs
    • Engagement of SPOs to Augment Policing
    • Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme; and
    • Pilot Project for Development of Infrastructure in Naxal-Affected States

    MHA claims that MPF Scheme has made a perceptible impact in all the States and provided much needed assistance and impetus to policing in the country. It has provided proper building for police station/out posts. Construction of houses for police personnel has boosted their morale. Availability of vehicles has improved police mobility and reduced response time. Modern weapons have boosted police power and morale particularly in Naxal affected areas thereby enhancing the performance and the satisfaction level of the State Police Forces.

    The “Police” and “law and order” are State subjects under Schedule VII of the Constitution of India. It is the prime responsibility of the State Governments to improve the functioning of their police force and to equip them adequately with the latest technology for meeting the emerging challenges to public order and internal security in the form of terrorism, Naxalism, insurgency, increase in crimes. The Central Government is supplementing the efforts of the State/Union Territory Governments in this regard. The MPF scheme is a significant initiative of the Central Government towards capacity building of SPF since 1969-70. The MPF scheme has been welcomed by police officers and men in all the States. It is especially helpful in resuscitating acutely deficient policing machinery in economically backward States. The regular police budget has been meagre due to a fiscal crunch in such states.

    But the scheme has suffered from undue delay in implementation in some of the States. Senior police officers of Bihar praise the scheme but feel that it has not been implemented properly and the State has not been able to reap the benefits of the scheme. The State still lacks basic policing infrastructure like housing, buildings, and vehicles since these have been neglected for long. Senior police officers of Jharkhand have however opined that the MPF scheme has enabled the State police in terms of arms/ammunition, equipment, communication, mobility and special equipment like bullet proof vehicles. Chhattisgarh police officers also feel that there little noticeable impact in the satisfaction level especially in residential buildings, family accommodation and mobility.

    Despite various problems the MPF scheme has achieved its objectives to some extent in terms of improving physical infrastructure, but a huge gap still exists between what is available and what is optimally required. MPF needs to be more user oriented rather than being thrust upon States. It should meet State Police’s aspirations based on their specific needs. Undue secretarial procedures and bureaucratic interference is proving burdensome to smooth implementation. Hence, the scheme needs to be given a fresh look for better implementation.

    Points raised during the discussions:

    • India’s internal security challenge is also the Army’s responsibility.
    • There is need for close coordination between the State governments and the central government in dealing with LWE.
    • Police Modernisation in Naxalism-affected States may be given priority, or a separate MPF scheme could be launched.
    • Naxalism- affected States may be given 100% central assistance.
    • Implementation procedure needs to be simplified.
    • There are severe governance challenges in most naxalites-affected States.
    • Police leadership should introspect and must eliminate corruption which is the biggest challenge to effective policing.
    • There are various organisational constraints. There is need for transforming the police forces, in terms of leadership, structure, recruitment, incentives, logistics support, equipment and training. The Police leadership is ineffective on the ground. Attractive welfare schemes for the dependents of police personnel are needed.

    Prepared by Dr. M. Amarjeet Singh, Research Assistant at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.