Saturday, February 27, 2010

Money for soldiers to fight Maoists

Anil Anand / DNASaturday, February 27, 2010 1:42 IST

New Delhi: In the face of growing challenges to internal security, particularly from left-wing insurgency, budgetary allocation for the home ministry has almost been doubled for the financial year 2010-11.It has been increased from Rs1,810.63 crore in 2009-10 to Rs3,283.39 crore for the next financial year.

Even as modernisation, training and increasing strength of the central paramilitary forces remain the key areas of investment, some new security-related aspects such as formulating a national register of citizens and distribution of a Unique Identity Number to the citizens also received the attention of finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

In order to complete this exercise through the length and breadth of the country, financial allocation for census surveys and statistics has been significantly increased. From Rs303.40 crore in 2009-10, it has been increased to Rs911.71 crore for 2010-11.

The Unique ID project is all set to enter its operational phase. A separate allocation of Rs1,900 crore has been made for the purpose.

The government has decided to back the home ministry’s plan to speedily fill the vacancies in the central paramilitary forces (CPMFs), particularly at the lower levels. Accordingly, budgetary sanction has been provided for recruitment of 2,000 constables during 2009-10.

While preparing to take the Maoist insurgents head-on, the government has not lost sight of the socio-economic aspect of the problem. Mukherjee’s budgetary proposals also included an integrated action plan for development of Maoist-affected areas. The Planning Commission will give shape to it, financial allocation will follow.

Though training of the CPMFs received the largest chunk of the budget for internal security, it also witnessed a marginal decline in allocation. From Rs21,035.46 during the 2009-10 period it came down to Rs18,714.95 crore in 2010-11.

Among the paramilitary forces, the National Security Guards led the allocation table with Rs5,745.87 crore followed by the CRPF with Rs5,560.86 crore. The BSF ranked third with an allocation of Rs5,273.08 crore.

Plan outlay for disaster management saw an increase over last year’s allocation. It was increased to Rs545.86 crore from Rs 384.30 crore given in last year’s budget. The sum is dismally low, compared to the size of the country.

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