Plan panel's naxal plan needs reform, says Ramesh | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Plan panel's naxal plan needs reform, says Ramesh

The country's top advisory body, the Planning Commission's development package has spurred unprecedented development activity in 60 naxal affected districts but it needs to be more inclusive.

delhi Updated: Oct 11, 2011 21:47 IST
HT Correspondent

The country's top advisory body, the Planning Commission's development package has spurred unprecedented development activity in 60 naxal affected districts but it needs to be more inclusive.

This, rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, suggested could be achieved by giving a role to elected representatives and local elected institutions in selection and execution of works undertaken under the panel's Integrated Action Plan (IAP).

Two plan panel members - Mihir Shah and Abhijit Sen - had wanted a similar approach in IAP but it was shot down by the Union Cabinet, which entrusted the job of executing the developmental works on a committee constituting of district magistrate, district forest officer and superintendent of police.

Ramesh, delivering Sardar Patel Memorial lecture, also wanted that the IAP should target blocks rather than districts and sought expansion of the programme to another 18 districts. "States have said that the blocks and not the districts should be the basic unit for identification and I quite agree with this demand," he said.

Ramesh also made a candid admission that "development deficit" continues in the naxal affected areas despite several government committee reports including that of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 1980s, when he was plan panel's member secretary, primarily because of "insensitivity and neglect" to the tribal aspirations.

"It is not the naxals who have created the ground conditions ripe for the acceptance of their ideology - it is singular failure of successive governments both in states and governments to protect the dignity and Constitutional rights of the poor," he said.

Supporting home minister P Chidambaram's twin approach of policing plus development, Ramesh said, the governments need to rise above Centre versus state arguments and restore people's faith in the administration to be "fair and just".

He does not expect the non-tribal "disinterested" administrative to have any "positive impact" and suggested technical and organizational capacity building of panchayats to better delivery. "Massive reform of the police and forest administration at the cutting egde is need of the hour," he said.

Pointing out that construction of roads was key to fight naxals, Ramesh said Rs 34,000 crore will be required in the next three to four years and gave an example of delayed construction of a bridge in Malkangiri district of Orissa as a setback to fight naxals.

Ramesh, who also highlighted his work to fight naxalism as environment minister, also suggested a district level paralegal assistance centers in 60 naxal affected districts to help tribals to fight cases of land-related dispute.