Home Minister's speech at the Chief Minister's Conference on Internal Security
Let me begin with an overview of the security situation in the country. It is a matter of satisfaction that there has been no significant terrorist attack in the last 14 months. It is also a matter of satisfaction that there has been no significant communal incident during this period. That, I hasten to add, does not mean that there has been no violence; or that we are not vulnerable to terrorist attacks; or that there are no triggers for communal disturbances. We must remain vigilant. We must continue the work on enhancing capacity. And we must reform our institutions and systems of governance in order to pre-empt terrorist threats and prevent communal discord.
Last year, Jammu and Kashmir and the North Eastern States witnessed the lowest level of incidents and casualties in many years. In Jammu and Kashmir, there were 499 incidents: 78 civilians and 64 members of the security forces were killed and 239 terrorists/militants were neutralised. However, since the beginning of this year, there has been an increase in the number of attempts to infiltrate militants into India and in the number of encounters on our side of the border. So far, 16 militants have been killed and 16 more arrested. I draw your attention to a meeting held a few days ago - on February 4 - at Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and attended by militant groups including Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen. It is clear that these groups are implacably opposed to India; their weapons are mayhem and violence; and their goal is forcible annexation of Kashmir. Let me make it clear: these dark forces will not succeed in their designs. We will defeat them whenever and wherever we confront them.
In 2009, the North Eastern States witnessed 1297 incidents: 264 civilians and 42 members of the security forces were killed and 571 militants/insurgents were neutralised. Thanks to the cooperation extended by the Government of Bangladesh, many leaders of insurgent groups were forced to return to India and have either surrendered to or have been apprehended by our security forces. Our determined effort to curb insurgency and violence has had a salutary effect and many insurgent groups have laid down arms and come forward to hold talks with the State Government concerned and the Central Government.
I am confident that 2010 will witness further improvement in the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and in the North Eastern States.
Naxalism, however, remains a grave threat. You will recall that at the last Conference of Chief Ministers, I had announced that we would encourage State Governments to talk to the naxalites if they abjured violence. Our public offer was scoffed at and spurned by the CPI (Maoist). Hence, in consultation with the Chief Ministers of naxal affected States, we decided to boldly confront the challenge thrown by the CPI (Maoist). Consequently, there was a rise in the number of deaths in 2009 amongst civilians (591), security forces (317) and militants (217). As the security forces move forward to reclaim areas that are now dominated by the naxalites, it is possible that this trend will continue in 2010 too. However, I am confident that the State Governments concerned will gradually gain the upper hand and re-establish the authority of the civil administration. I would urge the State Governments to ensure that re-establishment of the civil administration is quickly followed by implementation of development and welfare schemes.
In order to prepare for this Conference we had circulated a questionnaire to the States. The questionnaire sought information under 15 heads. All 35 States/UTs have sent their responses, although there are some gaps in the information that I hope will be filled in due course. This is a development of great significance. For the first time, we have a baseline on the capacity of the States and the measures that are being taken to meet the challenges to internal security. I would appeal to the Chief Ministers to join us in such an exercise every year so that we may be able to measure the progress during the year over the baseline. This exercise would also help the Central Government in allocating resources to the States based on the twin criteria of need and achievement.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Allow me to take a few minutes to summarise the responses of the State Governments to the questionnaire. Manpower remains an acute problem. As on 1.1.2009 the total number of police personnel actually in place in all States/UTs was 14,70,837. It increased to 15,04,153 by 30.9.2009 and is projected to increase to 15,81,439 by 31.3.2010. Thus, about 1,10,000 police personnel have been or will be recruited in a period of 15 months that signals a positive response to the trauma of 26/11. However, the flipside is the humongous vacancies in the sanctioned posts. As on 1.1.2009 there were 1,53,428 vacancies. It is expected to decline to 1,38,559 on 31.3.2010. In addition, there is Uttar Pradesh where there is a peculiar situation. In December 2008, Uttar Pradesh had sanctioned 2,04,021 new posts and I am informed that the process of recruitment is underway. The vacancy position reflects a very unsatisfactory state of affairs. There is no reason why States should not press the accelerator on recruitment and fill the vacancies. In July 2009, we had commended to the States a new, transparent, technology-driven procedure for recruitment. Only a few States have adopted or indicated willingness to adopt the new procedure.
I think the real problem behind tardy recruitment is the failure to provide adequate funds under the head 'Police'. The total budgetary support by all States/UTs for Police in 2008-09 RE was Rs.36,434 crore and this increased to Rs.44,354 crore in 2009-10 BE, marking an increase of 21.7 per cent. About 75-80 per cent of this amount goes to pay salaries, leaving very little for training, weapons and modernisation. As a proportion of the total budgeted expenditure of all States/UTs in 2009-10, the allocation to police is a meagre 4.3 per cent. In my view, the subject 'Police' does not receive the kind of budgetary support that is required to make the police force in the State a strong and effective instrument of security. I would urge Chief Ministers to recognise the priority that must be accorded to security and ensure that in the State Budget for 2010-11 larger allocations are made for 'Police'.
The visible symbol of security in a State is the police station. Between 1.1.2009 and 30.9.2009 only 139 rural police stations and 34 urban police stations were added. A further 282 rural police stations and 44 urban police stations are expected to be added by 31.3.2010. While this is slow progress, the average number of personnel sanctioned for a police station is unsatisfactory. The sanctioned average for all States/UTs is about 52 per police station. In rural police stations, the number varies from 12 in Madhya Pradesh and 13 in Orissa to 50 in Maharashtra, 51 in Gujarat, 54 in Punjab and 89 in Uttar Pradesh. However, this is only the sanctioned average. Adjusted for the number of vacancies, the actual strength is much lower. The picture is not very different in urban police stations and the number varies from 21 in Orissa and 27 in Jharkhand to 117 in Maharashtra and 180 in Delhi.
It is universally acknowledged that in matters concerning security there is no substitute for 'putting more men and women on the street'. That is why I urge you to quicken the pace of recruitment to the police force in your State. But even as you add more personnel, some of them must be dedicated to specialised functions such as Intelligence, Anti Terrorist Unit, Quick Response Teams, Industrial Security Force and Coastal Security. Based on the responses to the questionnaire, I find that only 9 States/UTs have a separate cadre for intelligence and only 16 States/UTs have accepted the scheme suggested by the Intelligence Bureau to restructure the State Special Branch. While nearly all States have set up QRTs, 6 States have not yet set up an Anti-Terrorist Unit.
Police reforms in the States also tell a story of slow progress. Not all States have complied with the directions of the Supreme Court in Prakash Singh and others vs. Union of India. 22 States have not yet enacted a new Police Act; 19 States have not yet set up a Police Complaints Authority; and 24 States have not yet established a State Security Commission. Besides, most States have not yet segregated the 'law and order' and 'investigation' functions.
Hon'ble Chief Ministers: These matters deserve your urgent attention.
Ladies and Gentlemen: you will recall that at the conclusion of the last Conference in August, 2009 I had listed a number of items which you had desired should be examined and acted upon. I am happy to report the action taken by the Central Government in that behalf.
Ladies and Gentlemen, you would have noticed that the content of my opening statement has changed from goal-setting in January, 2009 to policy statements and division of responsibilities in August, 2009 to stock-taking and presenting a progress report today. Strengthening the security system requires more than a vision. It requires more than a plan. It requires hard work. Actually, it requires sustained hard work and eternal vigilance. The Constitution has assigned to the States the legislative and executive powers in respect of 'public order' and 'police'. The same Constitution has assigned to the Central Government the duty 'to protect every State against external aggression and internal disturbance'. We are, therefore, bound by the Constitution to work together. On behalf of the Government of India, I offer to work with you in a spirit of partnership, and I am sure you will reciprocate my offer. I look forward to listening to your views on the vital subject of internal security.
I welcome you once again to this Conference and I shall now request the Hon'ble Prime Minister to inaugurate the Conference. "
Source: www.pib.nic.in February 7, 2010