Raipur: Chhattisgarh is receiving “step-motherly treatment” from the Narendra Modi government over the budgetary allocation for police modernisation under a central scheme, state Home Minister Tamradhwaj Sahu has said.
The minister said the Modi government has slashed Chhattisgarh’s police modernisation budget by 65 per cent after it assumed power in 2014 even though the state is India’s worst-affected by Naxalism.
Sahu said the problem of Naxalism is negligible in states like Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra compared to Chhattisgarh, but they get the best deal in budgetary allocation for police modernisation.
According to him, this is adversely affecting the state in its fight against Naxals. The modernisation budget is mainly used for arms purchases and development of infrastructure.
Delivery of state-of-the-art weapons to the state police is also pending for almost two-three years due to the budgetary shortfall and late release of funds from the Union government. Moreover, the purchase of communication and forensic equipment, vehicles, and recruitment of forces to combat Naxals, and development of other infrastructural facilities like administrative and residential buildings are also affected, he said.
“A large portion of the Central-funded police modernisation budget is earmarked for the fight against Naxalism,” said Sahu.
In 2013-14, the budget for state’s police modernisation was Rs 56 crore, which was reduced to Rs 20 crore in 2020-21,” said Sahu.
He said the Centre approved a sum of Rs 20 crore in the last fiscal but allocated only Rs 9.7 crore. “On the other hand, Bihar got Rs 27.6 crore (in 2019-20). Allocation for Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra were Rs 15.6 crore, Rs 63.19 and Rs 47 crore, respectively,” he said.
“The problem of Maoism in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra is negligible compared to ours but the budgetary allocation made to them was the highest. The Modi government is treating Chhattisgarh in a step-motherly manner,” he said.
The state was under the BJP until December 2018 when the Bhupesh Baghel-led Congress government came to power.
Under the police modernisation scheme, the Naxal-hit states get allocation from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, primarily for dealing with Left-Wing Extremism.
ThePrint reached the home ministry for a comment through calls and text messages but there was no response until the time of publishing this report.
Increase allocation – letter to Centre
Sahu’s comments came over a week after he wrote a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, demanding an increase in the budget allocation under the scheme.
“The amount being received under the Police Force Modernization Scheme has been steadily decreasing for the last few years. The amount being allocated under this scheme should be increased to make the fight against Naxalism more effective and to increase and modernize the resources of the state police force,” he said in the letter dated 22 July.
Highlighting the need for the raise, Sahu told the Centre that at the time of Chhattisgarh’s formation in 2000, the strength of police personnel in the state was 22,520. This has now grown to 75,678. In this period, 11 new revenue districts have been created, resulting in the demand for substantial increase in security forces as well.
The number of police stations has also gone up from 293 to 467 and police outposts have risen from 57 to 115. Some Special Task Force units, and 22 Chhattisgarh Armed Force battalions were raised.
Sahu hasn’t received any response from the Union ministry so far.
Release of fund
The police officers in the Chhattisgarh home ministry said orders to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for purchase of arms are continuously getting pushed due to delays in release of funds by the central government.
A top police officer said that the delivery of around 200 Trichy Assault Rifles (TRO) and INSAS rifles — ordered in 2017 mainly for anti-Naxal operations — is still pending.
A sizeable chunk of Joint Venture Protective Carbine (JVPC) with short range firepower was also ordered by the state Home Department in 2018, but its delivery is also pending, said the officer.
These three rifles are provided by the DRDO to the state police department. According to the arrangement, the state places its order to the defence manufacturer and gets its delivery once the Centre reimburses the budgetary amount directly to the maker.
“Not only the funds received under the Centrally Funded Police Modernization Scheme have decreased significantly in the last few years, but the amount being actually received is also getting extremely delayed,” said R.K. Vij, Chhattisgarh Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Planning and Management.
“Although, the Police Modernization Fund for arms procurement is directly released to the DRDO after submission of proposal by the state government, there is a lot of delay in this process too,” he added.
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