Flagging Naxal areas as the 'most dangerous zone' in the country, the government will enhance hardship allowance given to paramilitary personnel deployed in these places more than what they get while serving in Jammu and Kashmir and Northeastern region.
At present, a paramilitary constable serving in J and K gets around Rs 8,000 per month in addition to his or her normal salary and other entitlements. The broad contours of the new strategy was discussed during a meeting convened by Home Minister Rajnath Singh today to review the steps being taken to check the Maoist menace, official sources said, adding the incentives are aimed at attracting talented IAS and IPS officers to work in Naxal-hit areas.
In another move, the new government has decided to change the name of its Naxal Management division in the Home Ministry to Left Wing Extremism division. As Naxal is a very restricted term, the new government wants to give a much broader nomenclature, a senior Home Ministry official said. Singh has emphasised that morale of the forces should be kept high and development will take place only when there is an improvement in security situation.
The policy change appears to have been inspired by the American model which gives its troops a choice posting besides special incentives like danger pay, imminent danger pay, hardship duty pay, hazardous duty pay, premium pay rest and recuperation travel allowance while serving in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.
The Home Minister and Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju were briefed about various aspects of the Left Wing Extremism and the steps being taken to control it. Singh also emphasised on completing the existing development projects in Naxal-hit areas, including construction of 5,000km roads at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore and setting up of 2,199 mobile phone towers at a cost of Rs 3,000 crore.
Singh promised to ensure regular flow of funds for all development projects. He asked the officials to review the policy under which forest lands are given to landless tribals so that 'pattas' can be given to genuine applicants after showing leniency. Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar are among the nine worst Naxal-affected states.