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Maoism and Democracy
News: In the recently concluded elections in Chhattisgarh a low voter turnout was observed in Maoist-affected territories. It reflects the influence of Maoists on the tribal people who may not have voted due to fear.
Tribals in India
• India has the second-largest tribal population in the world.
• As per the Census 2011, the tribal population constitutes about 8.9% of the total population in India.
• Around 92% of the ST population continues to live in rural areas. Current status of Maoism in India
• Decline in Violence: Incidents of Maoist violence in India dropped by 77% between 2009 and 2021. The number of deaths of civilians and security forces also decreased by almost 85%, from an all-time high of 1,005 in 2010 to 147 in 2021.
• Reduced Geographical Spread: The geographical spread of Maoist violence has reduced to 46 districts today, compared to 96 districts in 2010. The influence zone of the Naxalites, known as the red corridor, has been steadily declining in terms of geographical coverage and number of violent incidents.
• Government Strategy: The Indian government’s policy involves security-related measures, development interventions, and ensuring rights and entitlements of local communities. This multi-pronged strategy has resulted in a consistent decline in violence in affected areas.
• Tribals in Chhattisgarh hold 34% of vote share but voter turnout in tribal areas was only around 4% mainly due to boycott calls.
• The Maoists run government in tribal regions known as ‘Jantana sarkar’
What are the challenges posed by Maoism?
• Security Threat: Maoism is considered one of the gravest security threats India faces. The Maoist insurgency, which started in the 1960s, has claimed over 12,000 lives
• Socio-Economic Disruption: The Maoists draw support from disgruntled citizens, especially tribals, who believe they have been exploited and have not benefited from economic growth. This leads to socioeconomic disruption in the affected areas.
• Political Instability: The Maoists aim at overthrowing the Indian state through armed struggle to capture political power. This creates political instability in the regions where they are active.
• Developmental Challenges: The presence of Maoists in certain areas can hinder developmental activities, making it difficult for the government to implement infrastructure and welfare projects.
• Agencies, CSO’s, NGO’s etc face challenges in service delivery, welfare program etc.
• Radicalization of Youth in Tribal areas who get drifted towards anti-national activities etc.
What is the government doing to address Maoism?
• SAMADHAN Doctrine: This doctrine is a one-stop solution for the LWE problem. It encompasses the entire strategy of government from short-term policy to long-term policy formulated at different levels.
• Aspirational Districts Programme: Launched in 2018, it aims to rapidly transform the districts that have shown relatively lesser progress in key social areas.
• Development Initiatives: Several development initiatives have been implemented for construction of roads, installation of mobile towers, skill development, improving network of banks and post offices, health and education facilities1 Funds for development are also provided to most LWE affected districts under Special Central Assistance (SCA) scheme.
• Encourage public participation via implementing PESA
• Implement sustainable use of natural resources
• Address primary causes such as poverty, lack of education, improve standard of living of tribals.
• The core of the issue is to counter naxal propaganda by empowering the locals in LWE affected districts.