Concerned that the anti-Maoist offensive in the Red corridor could lose steam and direction, the home ministry will next week nudge nine naxal-affected states to "reorient" their tactics and go on an offensive rather than just retaliate when under fire.
Home secretary RK Singh also intends to ask state police forces to decentralise planning and execution of operations, with district superintendents of police playing a lead role instead of watching from the sidelines and executing decisions taken at the state headquarters.
The meeting - slated for next Wednesday - was convened in the backdrop of what the home ministry called "low returns" from the heavy deployment of central and state forces on anti-Maoist operations.
Last year, 74 naxals and 114 policemen were killed in anti-naxal operations against 220 naxals and 317 policemen in 2009, well before central forces started making their presence felt in the Maoist heartland.
A government source said a reason for the "low returns" was that the Maoists - who earlier used to attack police parties - were making the first move only when confident of the outcome. "So there are fewer encounters, mostly driven by the Maoists."
The idea that the home ministry intends to push next week is to get the states to put together more teams of commandos in the jungles to catch Maoists unawares in their comfort zones. The move comes within weeks of the Centre clearing a project to fund specialised anti-Maoist commando units in four of the worst-affected states.
It would also emphasise on district SPs - who have their ear to the ground and can respond quickly to information - to drive operations.