By Pushpita Das
Beginning with the spike in budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in 2009-10 following the Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008, the MHA has been witnessing a steady increase in its allocations over the years. In the last three years too, allocations have increased from Rs. 61,401.78 crore in 2014-15 to 65,651.10 crore in 2015-16, and to 73,406.37 crore in 2016-17. For the upcoming financial year 2017-18 as well, this upward trend has persisted with allocations reaching Rs. 83,823 crore, a hike of around 11.5 per cent over that of the previous year.
Of the total allocations to the MHA, allocation made under the head ‘Police’ pertains to matters of internal security such as the central armed police forces (CAPFs), central police organisations (CPOs), border infrastructure, intelligence, disaster and emergency management, etc. The increased budgetary allocations under the ‘Police’ head over the years reflect the growing concerns over various internal security challenges plaguing the country as well as a firm intent to tackle them. The emphasis, has been to prioritise these threats and challenges and deal with them in a concerted and sustained manner through security interventions and development activities.
One of the serious internal security threats that the country has been grappling with for more than a decade is left wing extremism (LWE). At present, 106 districts in 10 states are affected by LWE.1 Although the primary responsibility of fighting LWE lies with the concerned states, the Union government assists them by providing battalions of central armed police forces to counter the subversive activities of left wing extremists and maintain public order. Given that the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is the primary force deployed in the LWE-affected states, the Government of India had, in 2009, sanctioned funds for raising 39 additional battalions of the CRPF. As a result, the CRPF has been receiving the highest allocations in successive budgets since then. In the previous fiscal year, the force received Rs. 16,228. 18 crore, which has been increased by another 1635.35 crore to Rs. 17,868.53 crore for 2017-18. Of the sanctioned 39 battalions, 26 have been raised till 2016 and the remainder is to be raised by 2018-19.
Another way in which the Union government assists the LWE affected state governments is by providing funds for capacity building through various security related expenditure (SRE) schemes. Under these schemes, the Union government reimburses the expenditure incurred by LWE-affected states in training and operational requirements of the security forces, insurance of police personnel, ex gratia payments to the families of civilian or security forces personnel killed in LWE violence, compensation to surrendered left wing extremist cadres under the surrender and rehabilitation policy of the respective states, etc. In the last two financial years, i.e. 2015-16 and 2016-17 (until 15 November 2016), funds released to LWE states under these schemes were Rs. 258.65 crore and 111.49 crore, respectively. For the upcoming fiscal year, the budgetary allocation under SRE has been pegged at Rs. 1,222 crore, an increase of Rs. 380 crore from the previous year. Since SRE also comprises expenditures incurred by Jammu and Kashmir and insurgency affected states in the North East, the rise of almost 45 per cent under this head could be because of the deteriorating security situation and the expectation of a consequent rise in spending under SRE in these states.
Border management is the second area that has witnessed a substantial increase in budgetary allocations for the fiscal year 2017-18. The need to effectively secure the country’s international borders against infiltration, trafficking and irregular crossings has become even more pressing following a series of successful infiltration attempts by Pakistani terrorists through the India-Pakistan international border and subsequent attacks on strategic installations in the past couple of years. These attacks have raised serious concerns about the effectiveness of the present border management system in thwarting such border breaches and has compelled the Union government to undertake measures to fortify the India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders in particular. Towards this end, the Union government had decided to enhance surveillance and detection by building ditch cum fence barriers, putting up laser walls along riverine stretches, employing sensors, cameras and tunnel detection gadgets, building roads and other infrastructures along the borders. The implementation of the comprehensive integrated border management systems (CIBMS) along the India-Pakistan border on a pilot basis is a step in this direction. Accordingly, Rs. 2,600 crore has been allocated for border infrastructure, of which 2,355 crore is for capital expenditure i.e., spending on fences, electronic surveillance gadgets, etc. This amount is, however, lower than the Rs. 2,490 crore provisioned for 2016-17. One of the reasons for the lower allocation could be the under or non-utilisation of funds due to various reasons, a fact revealed by the revised budget of 2016-17, where the expenditure under capital outlay has been reduced to Rs. 1,722.33 crore.
Similarly, budgetary allocations for the border guarding forces have been substantially increased to improve their strength and efficiency. Allocations under this sub-head are made for raising additional battalions, training, procurement of weapons and ammunition, administrative requirements, etc. The Border Security Force (BSF), which has responsibility for the India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders, received the highest amount of Rs. 15,569.11 crore, an increase of Rs. 917 crores from the previous year. Furthermore, the Land Port Authority of India (LPAI), entrusted with the mandate to build and manage integrated check posts (ICPs), received Rs. 300 crore for 2017-18, an increase of 241 per cent from the previous year. This highlights the government’s commitment towards greater regional integration by ensuring the smooth and efficient cross border movement of people and goods. Likewise, the Border Area Development Programme (BADP), a scheme to meet the infrastructural requirements of the border people, received an enhanced allocation of Rs. 1100 crore, an increase of 11 per cent from 2016-17.
The third segment which received a substantial increase in allocations is police modernisation and infrastructure. Under police modernisation, Rs. 800 crore has been allocated for modernisation of the state police forces. This sum includes grants by the Union government to states to strengthen police infrastructure in terms of training, weaponry, mobility and communication, and the establishment of secure police stations. Further, it also includes the establishment and upkeep of the crime and criminal network tracking system (CCTNS). Building projects, both residential and office, for CAPFs and COPs received Rs. 4008.06 crore, indicating the seriousness of the Union government to improve the living and working conditions of these police organisations.
The Intelligence Bureau (IB), which in recent years has been augmenting its strength, has also received an allocation of Rs. 1,577 crore, an increase of 11 per cent from the previous year. Most of the expenditure, however, will be revenue outlay indicating an increase in spending on salaries and perks of personnel. In the past, the IB was functioning at a reduced strength with a shortfall of around 2000 agents, but in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attack, calls were made to strengthen the IB in a comprehensive manner through increased recruitments, among other things. The IB has been recruiting personnel since 2009 but this is yet to reflect accurately in the manpower strength since full induction of operatives would only happen after the completion of their training. Last but not the least, Delhi Police, the National Emergency Response System for crimes against women and national disaster schemes also received increased budgetary allocations for the fiscal year 2017-18.
The enhanced budgetary allocations for the MHA since 2009 reflect the efforts of the successive Union governments to comprehensively overhaul the internal security set up of the country through a series of measures such as capacity building of security and law enforcement organisations through strength augmentation, improved training, modern weaponry and other infrastructure, technical upgradation; enhancing intelligence gathering, analysis and dissemination; infrastructure development in violence affected areas as well as border regions; improving responses to natural disaster and other emergencies; etc. The budgetary allocations for the fiscal year 2017-18 is a continuation of this process. Though the Union government has been making substantial budget allocations to the MHA, the ministry’s efforts to bring about the desired reforms have, however, shown mixed results so far. While the revenue outlays have been increasing, the capital outlays have seen troughs and crests in the last four years. This indicates that while the concerned organisations have been successful in increasing manpower, they have been unable to build up the commensurate infrastructure required for capacity building such as training schools and laboratories, and procuring additional vehicles and boats, arms and ammunitions, computers and surveillance equipment, etc. Efforts, therefore, must be made to fully utilise the budgetary outlays provided to the MHA in order to achieve a comprehensive reform of the internal security system of the country.
Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the IDSA or of the Government of India. Originally published by Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (www.idsa.in) at http://idsa.in/idsacomments/analysis-internal-security-budget-2017-18_pdas_210217
1. Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Division, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, at http://mha.nic.in/naxal_new (Accessed on February 17, 2017)