In a significant move, the Centre has removed a total of forty-four out of 126 districts in the country from the list of Naxal-hit areas. In an indicator of the shrinking arc of the of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) in India, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Sunday said that these 44 districts are either no longer under the influence of Maoists or have been reduced to negligible presence. The number is now confined only to 30 worst-hit districts. The Ministry of Home Affairs had categorised 106 districts in 10 states as LWE-affected districts.
Crediting a multi-pronged strategy that involved security and development-related measures, Gauba said the geographical spread of LWE violence has shrunk significantly in the last four years due to such measures. He further said that significant features of the anti-Naxal policy were zero tolerance towards violence which was coupled with a big push to developmental activities so that benefits of new roads, bridges, telephone towers reach the poor and the vulnerable in the affected areas.
• 44 districts have been excluded from the list of Naxal-hit areas.
• 8 new districts have been added to the list of Security Related Expenditure (SRE) districts as a pre-emptive step to check any attempts by Maoists to enhance the area of influence.
• A total number of SRE districts now stands at 90.
• The number of worst LWE-hit districts has also come down to 30 from 35.
• Among the 90 districts, 32 districts have reported no violence in last few years while only 58 districts have reported violence in 2017.
How did Maoists’ area of influence shrink?
• The districts listed as Naxal-hit are covered under the SRE scheme for the purpose of reimbursement of security-related expenditure like transportation, communication, the hiring of vehicles, the stipend to surrendered Maoists, construction of infrastructure for forces etc.
• Over the last few years, a number of districts have been carved into smaller districts, which resulted in the geographical area of the 106 SRE districts being spread over 126 districts.
• In order to ensure that deployment of forces and resources is in sync with the changed ground reality, the MHA recently undertook a comprehensive exercise in consultation with the states to review the affected districts.