IN 2003, when the Government of India identified 55 districts affected by left-wing extremism (naxalism) across nine States to address the issue of backwardness, its decision stemmed from the realisation that people were drawn into naxalism and forced to take up arms in order to meet their socio-economic needs. These districts are in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
The objective was to accelerate the development process in these districts and ultimately prevent people from joining the naxalites. The pursuit of this goal warranted a certain degree of commitment on the part of the States concerned. But has the effort succeeded?
Even as the scheme progressed, it revealed an in-built flaw. While the identification of the districts affected by extremism was carried out by the Ministry of Home Affairs in terms of the number of violent incidents, these districts were clubbed with the Backward Districts Initiative (BDI) under the Rashtriya Sam Vikas Yojana (RSVY) being run by the Planning Commission. The RSVY has three components: the BDI, a Special Plan for Bihar and a Special Plan for the KBK region of Orissa (the undivided districts of Koraput, Bolangir and Kalahandi, which have now been divided into eight districts). Its objective was to address the problems of low agricultural productivity and unemployment and to fill critical gaps in physical and social infrastructure. Under the BDI scheme, programmes and policies were to be initiated jointly by the Centre and the States to remove barriers to growth, accelerate development and improve the quality of life of people.
The BDI component was to cover 100 districts. The identification of backward districts within a State was made on the basis of an index of backwardness comprising three parameters with equal weightage: (i) value of output per agricultural worker; (ii) agriculture wage rate; and (iii) percentage of...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document