The government could next week clear a Rs. 373 crore plan to create special forces to carry out targeted strikes on Maoists in four states including Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
But this time, state governments too will have to chip in.
The home ministry has slashed funding under its scheme for special infrastructure for naxal-hit states by one-third – from the original estimate of Rs. 750 crore to Rs. 280 crore – to stay within the red lines drawn by the UPA to keep the fiscal deficit under check.
“It will no longer be a 100% centrally funded scheme... states will have to contribute 25% share, about Rs. 93 crore over the next five years,” a government source told HT.
Home ministry officials said Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha only would be targeted in the initial period due to fund constraints under this scheme.
West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh will also receive funding to a lesser extent but Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have been left out this time, a senior official said.
Government sources said the Special Forces – to be raised on the lines of the Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh that has neutralised Maoists to a large extent – would be an important ingredient of the anti-Maoist offensive over the next few years.
“Some of the states do have commando teams but their numbers, weaponry and training standards could do with a lot of improvement to be effective,” a senior home
ministry official said.
Home secretary RK Singh had recently told a meeting of police chiefs of naxal-affected states about the central initiative and budged them to “reorient” their tactics.
Singh told them to create substantial number of specially trained commandos who would be able to go on an offensive deep inside the dense jungles rather than just retaliate when under fire.