Wednesday, April 21, 2010

PM to civil servants: Fight Naxals with development

Express news service Posted online: Thursday , Apr 22, 2010 at 2334 hrs

New Delhi : Days after the biggest Maoist attack, in which 76 security personnel were killed in Dantewada, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today asserted that firm action would be taken against those challenging the authority of the state, but, in a careful moderation, added that one could not overlook the fact that Left-wing extremism flourished in underdeveloped areas.

Singh’s observations on the Naxal issue came at a gathering of the country’s top bureaucrats on the occasion of the Civil Services Day here. Singh asked them to come up with innovative ways to ensure the benefit of government programmes reached people in the remotest villages.

“Recent events have underscored the need for urgent and considered action to root out this problem,” he said, referring to the Dantewada attack, even as he affirmed “no quarter can be given to those who have taken upon themselves to challenge the authority of the Indian state and the fabric of our democratic polity”.

While reiterating that Left-wing extremism was possibly India’s gravest internal security threat, the Prime Minister said the fact that it was dominant in underdeveloped areas could not be ignored.

“We cannot overlook the fact that many areas in which such extremism flourishes are under-developed and many of the people, mainly poor tribals, who live in these areas have not got equitable share in the fruits of development,” he said.

Honouring those bureaucrats who had excelled in public administration — one of them, incidentally, awarded for bringing innovative changes in the Naxal-affected district of Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh — the Prime Minister said that it is “incumbent upon us to ensure that no area of our country is denied the benefits of our ambitious developmental programmes”.

He asked civil servants to harness information technology and to involve intended beneficiaries in implementation so that leakages, corruption and lack of transparency could be checked.

Singh said that fast and inclusive growth was the centerpiece of the developmental agenda of the UPA, which would not be possible without civil servants playing a major role. He also asked bureaucrats to pay special attention to the agriculture sector with focus on increasing productivity of dry land, rainfed areas.

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