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Perks for babus in Naxal areas

The Second ARC under chairmanship of M Veerappa Moily proposes special training, better pay, housing to the officers serving in difficult areas, reports Soumyajit Pattnaik.

india Updated: May 12, 2008 03:41 IST
Soumyajit Pattnaik

It’s not just the security forces who have to fight the Naxalites. Administrative personnel implementing various developmental and welfare schemes in Naxal-affected districts also play a key role in combating Left-wing extremism.

Realising the importance of good administration in Maoist strongholds, the Centre had earlier recommended states to announce a suitable transfer policy in the Naxal-affected districts. But now, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) under the chairmanship of M Veerappa Moily has suggested that states train the officers serving in difficult areas at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration at Mussoorie as well as give them several incentives.

The Naxal Management Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs had earlier made a proposal to states hit by Left extremism, saying: “Willing, committed and competent officers will need to be posted with a stable tenure in Naxal-affected districts. These officers will also need to be given greater delegation and flexibility to deliver better results, step up government presence and above all, improve governance in these areas.”

The Second ARC in its report on Capacity Building for Conflict Resolution has discussed Left extremism and made several other suggestions for better personnel management in tribal areas. The ARC report has said, “Personnel management has been a neglected aspect of administration in tribal areas. Posting and deployment in such areas is usually looked upon as punishment by officers, who either work half-heartedly or remain absent for long periods from their place of duty. This underscores the need to identify officers, including those in technical services, who view postings in these areas as a challenging and satisfying experience and have empathy and sensitivity to appreciate the problems of the people and the commitment to play a role in resolving them. State governments should give such officers the benefit of being trained at national level institutions like Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration. Such officers could then bring their exposure and unique experience to the framing of public policies...”

The ARC report has further noted, “As an incentive, it would be necessary to reward these officers with better emoluments, recognition of their services and residential accommodation and education of their children in the state headquarters, if so desired. There is need for a national policy which could provide for reimbursing state governments for the additional resources required to make it attractive for officers to voluntarily opt to serve under difficult conditions in such areas.”

The Expert Group of the Planning Commission in its report on the Development and Causes of Discontent, Unrest and Extremism also blamed governance-related factors for the growth of Left extremism. These factors include incompetence, poorly-trained and poorly motivated public personnel, corruption and poor provision/non-provision of essential public services such as health care and education.