Home minister P Chidambaram will talk to district magistrates of 60 naxal affected districts through video conferencing on Friday for the first time to gauge the impact of the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for naxal affected districts.
A bit beyond his brief as home minister, Chidambaram began to take interest in development of Naxal areas after a heated debate within the ruling Congress on combining development and policing to counter the extremism.
The Planning Commission had allocated Rs 25 crore to each of these 60 districts in December 2010 with an aim to “show results in the short term”. In all, the government has approved Rs 1,500 crore for the financial year 2011-12 but most district magistrates have expressed inability to spend the entire amount..
“The home minister has desired to review the scheme himself,” said a senior plan panel official said. Chidambaram, while announcing the scheme following approval of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, had said he would talk to all the DMs on its implementation.
The exercise, first of its kind by the home minister, is aimed at finding out the types of works undertaken and its likely impact on the local population. Each district magistrate has been asked to come up with detailed plan of the works undertaken and its likely impact.
A committee headed by the respective district magistrate and consisting of superintendent of Police and district forest officer has been mandated to spend the money.
The funds have been explicitly provided for carrying out works of urgent importance such as construction school buildings, anganwadi centers, drinking water supply and streetlights in public places, for which money is not available in the existing Central government schemes.
The urgency of the Central government in improving basic facilities in the Naxal affected districts is apparent from the guidelines for implementing the IAP, which directs the state governments to transfer the funds to districts within 15 days of receiving from the Central government. For any delay, the state governments will have to pay interest to the districts, the guidelines said.
Although the Planning Commission has been administering the scheme, the home minister is the overall in charge of its implementation considering the security implications of left wing extremism. The scheme, in consultation with the home ministry, is aimed at checking the growing menace of naxalism.