Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the Naxalites the “single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country”. In June 2011, he said, “Development is the master remedy to win over people”, adding that the government was “strengthening the development work” in the 60 Maoist-affected districts.
Below is the map showing the Maoist affect areas of India.
Would make the below points and try to put the reasons behind these. These are not mere coincidences.
- Looking at the above map, it is very easy to infer that Maoism is more intense in mainly tribal and coincidentally which are also the poor areas.
- BUT, these areas are rich in mines.
- Start of Maoism also coincides with Indiraji coming to power. Maoism started in early 1970s.
- Maoist terror reached the peak during the reign of Sonia Gandhi when mining scams were at the peak.
- During Modi regime the Maoism is receding.
Since, the Maoism is mostly seen in areas rich in mining ores, the problem surely has something to do with mining.
Lets first understand the overall mining policy till the Modi Govt came to power.
- Before Modi Govt. there was no auction done for mines. The mines were simply allocated to people at free of cost. The Govt. earned little money from its mines. This resulted to rampant corruption, the great mining scams occurred, where people with close connection to politicians got the mining leases.
- Lets take the case of Coal. In the Coal belt, Maoism is extremely prevalent. Earlier the Govt owned Coal India Limited(CIL) had virtual monopoly for mining and sale of coal. And CIL never produced the Coal the country needed. I cant say if this was intentional or not. No company was allowed to mine or sell coal. The big industry were able to import coal, but small players purchased coal from mining mafias. The mining mafias mined coal and exploited the tribal people and their lands. IT is typically seen that these Mafias operated as a lawless body and always created shortages to prop up prices and earn more profits.
- India, despite having large quantities of minerals, imports minerals, mainly due to the artificial shortage created by nasty mining laws probably designed to water the pockets of the Mafia.
- Lets take another example i.e. mica. Till 1980s, India was the largest producer of mica dominated by organized players and companies. In 1980s, the Govt. passed few environmental laws, due to which the organized players were forced to stop mining of mica completely. The production of mica now came to the hands of unorganized mafia who exploited the mines and catered to the domestic needs. It is said that mica mining is done by young girls as young as 6 years old and paid very little. Probably the laws were passed with the intention of creating Mafia in the guise of environmental protection. The politicians, Gandhis can earn if lawless mafias do the business, they cannot earn anything if organized and well regulated players dominate the mining sector.
In nutshell, mining mafias exploited the lands owned by tribals and poor, displaced them and pushed them to utter poverty. This is core reason of Maoism. The people were left with no option but to take up arms.
Why did maoism subside after Modi coming to power? The reason is simple: Modiji reformed the mining sector. He applied a carrot and stick approach. How?
- Modiji made changes in the mining laws to ensure that mining leases are allocated through an auction process. This resulted to improved transparency. Why would a bidder who is paying a hefty amount for getting a mining lease bribe the politicians and bureaucrats? This resulted to reduction of Mining mafia who cannot compete with the companies in technology, plus the supply of minerals increased in market thereby reducing the mafia’s grip.
- The mining laws were amended to ensure that the entire money goes to the state Govts. Plus, the laws mandate that a certain percentage of the money gotten from auction of mines is deposited in what is “District Mineral Development Fund (DMDF). Money from DMDF is used for development of the district where the mining occurs. This resulted to development of the areas by ploughing back certain amount of money to their pockets through jobs, contracts and business. If the natives benefit from the money that is earned from mining in their area why would (s)he revolt?
- Modi has recently reformed the coal sector by allowing private companies get mining leases by auction process, and gave them freedom to sale the coal in open market, there by challenging the grip of Coal Mafia.
- The welfare measure weaned away public support from Maoists. The remaining hardcore Maoists were dealt with iron hand by our armed forces.
- In the last Parliament session, Modi Govt did another reform in the mining sector. Earlier, there was restrictions on the end use of a mine. There was a concept of Captive and non-Captive mines. What it meant is, if I have a mine, Govt will specify during the allocation of the lease, it will be specified how I will used the mine i.e. whether I can sell the mined stuff in open market or I can use it in my own factory or so. Modi Govt removed this restriction, the lease holder can mine and sell it where ever it wanted, but for extra money extra royalty has to be paid. This will also reduce the shortage of minerals in the market.
Thinking more about it, the Maoism is the offshoot of the rampart corruption in Mining sector which were the main source of funding of the Gandhis and also the communists. Is is hence no coincidence, with Gandhis and communists weakening, Maoism is also ebbing.
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