In the last five years, a slew of plans have been conceived and blueprints prepared to bolster the country’s preparedness to fight terror. Some are gathering dust while others are being implemented in a haphazard manner. A look at some of them.
Coastal Security Scheme
The Coastal Security Scheme was to strengthen infrastructure for patrolling and surveillance of coastal areas, particularly shallow areas close to the coast, to check cross-border criminal activities.
The scheme is being implemented in nine coastal states (Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Bengal) and four Union Territories (Pondicherry, Lakkshadweep, Daman & Diu and Andaman & Nicobar Islands) from 2005-06. The Ministry of Home Affairs is providing assistance to set up 73 coastal police stations, which will be equipped with 204 boats, 153 jeeps and 312 motorcycles. So far, only 47 these police stations are operational, sources in the home ministry said. The ministry blames states for being slow in setting up these posts.
To strengthen joint coastal patrolling of the area between the International Maritime Boundary Line with Pakistan and north of Goa, a scheme was formulated for the Coast Guard to take over patrolling of these waters. Being implemented jointly by the Ministry of Home Affairs (who meet the non-recurring expenditure of about Rs 342.56 crore) and the Ministry of Defence meeting the recurring expenditure, it is called Operation Swan. Primarily aimed at protecting the coasts of Maharashtra and Gujarat, the scheme was started in 2005-06 and is scheduled to be completed in four years. Despite this, terrorists could reach Mumbai by sea on November 26.
Federal Investigative Agency
The Malimath Committee on Reforms of Criminal Justice System said: “The time has come when the country has... a system of Federal Law and Federal Investigating Agency with an all-India Charter. It would have within its ambit crimes that affect national security and activities aimed at destabilising the country.... The State Enforcement Agencies and the Federal Agency can have concurrent jurisdiction. However, if the Federal Agency takes up the case for investigation, the State Agencies’ role... would automatically abate. The State Agencies may also refer complicated cases to the... Federal Agency.” The proposal has not made progress due to resistance from the states.
Special Security Zone
The Centre in September 2005 constituted a Police Act Drafting Committee and it came out with a Model Police Act, which said: “If and when the security of State in an area is threatened by insurgency... terrorist or militant activity, or... any organised crime group, the Union Government may, with the concurrence of the State Government, declare such area as a Special Security Zone.” This proposal is gathering dust.