Insurgency is not the same as terrorism. Unlike terrorists, insurgents are citizens who indulge in endemic violence in the area of their domicile, and over a long period of time. Insurgent movements can be found in parts of the Northeast, Jammu and Kashmir and a few pockets elsewhere.
Organizations based in foreign countries are known to provide moral, political and logistical support to insurgent outfits active in India. Pakistan overtly abets insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir on the pretext of supporting a “freedom struggle” and even lays claim to a part of the state. Indian insurgents also reportedly have training camps in Bangladesh.
But insurgents are not always financed by foreign organizations, they may sustain themselves out of ransom and extortions collected from the people or even the government. This may be in the form of extortion from contractors, government servants and beneficiaries of government-sponsored welfare schemes. Such leakages of government funds to insurgent outfits need to be plugged since they add to the might and firepower of insurgent outfits, and strike at the very root of the unity and integrity of the country, apart from undermining the very mechanisms to plug these leakage.
In some pockets, extortion is very systematized: formal notices are given, extortion money is collected from disbursing officers, and even pukka receipts are issued. Far from being “underground”, such activities overshadowed the authority of the legitimate government.
Plug the leak
There are no reliable statistics on the extent of such leakages of government funds. This does not mean the problem does not exist. But the first step to contain the problem is to compile statistics so that strategies may be devised to counter it. And there is need to plug this leakage, for that is the only thing that will weaken insurgency and reduce public apathy to the problem.
It is true that backwardness is largely responsible for insurgency, but the solution to underdevelopment must be development, instead of a mere injection of government funds. The latter merely increases the problem since insurgent outfits corner a share of the largesse and use it to further their nefarious designs.
Given the present trends in the national economy, development primarily means the growth of private enterprises. Government-sponsored schemes at best act as a catalyst for development. But private enterprises have little scope to flourish in the hostile security situation that insurgency creates. Rather, even existing private businesses close down.
In short, underdevelopment, the injection of more money and insurgency make a vicious circle which must be broken if real development is to take place.
Government-sponsored schemes are often not designed with the security scenario in mind. This creates problems during implementation. In the interests of development, proper targeting of welfare schemes and ways to minimize leakage of resources to criminal outfits should be emphasized at the formulation stage itself.
Schemes may need re-orientation if they are to achieve their desired goals. Appropriate mechanisms should be built into the schemes to prevent leakage of funds to insurgents. Options such as intensive and mandatory physical verification of schemes by independent agencies, criminal proceedings for wrong reporting, designing the schemes in answer to actual demand, emphasis on the quality of implementation, favouring those villages while allocating funds which show signs of shunning violence, appointing security personnel as implementing officers and so on may be considered. Also, these mechanisms may need fine-tuning depending on experience.
It will be a travesty of the welfare state if the largesse meant for the people is appropriated by insurgent outfits and results in further perpetuating the miseries of the people.