It will no longer be a project-oriented approach

The Home Ministry has tweaked its Civic Action Programme (CAP), which allows central armed paramilitary forces (CAPFs) to carry out development programmes in the nine-Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected States.

They have now been asked to be ‘individual-oriented’ rather than ‘project-oriented’ as this approach will help in bridging the gap between locals and security personnel more efficiently.

Under the project christened ‘Winning Hearts and Minds,’ the Central Reserve Police Force and the Border Security Force have till now been spending funds on small projects and development activities, which included building small bridges and roads, implementing drinking water and irrigation scheme.

Under the revised guidelines, the security forces have been told to spend the money, which is Rs. 20 crore per annum, on welfare activities directed at individuals and families, according to a senior official of the ministry. The CAPFs would give them seeds and manure or livestock, donate household items or help with setting up hand-pumps “so that they could live a comfortable and dignified life.” Other new initiatives would include organising medical camps and funding vocational training programmes for children of villagers, and donating essential items for schools or health centres in backward and remote areas.

There are over 80 CAPF battalions, a majority from the CRPF, deployed in the nine LWE-hit States.

Explaining the genesis of the CAP, the official pointed out that the banned CPI (Maoist) had been luring the local population to support its so-called, protracted people’s war through petty incentives to local communities or by following a coercive strategy. “Their propaganda is targeted against the security forces and the government/administrative set up,” he said.

‘Initiative successful’

“Under such circumstances, it is of paramount importance that efforts are made to project the human face of the security forces so that they can win the hearts and the minds of the people. It was decided to provide CAPFs funds to undertake civic activities for people residing in remote LWE-affected areas…This initiative has been successful in many conflict zones across the world and we have also been implementing it to a great degree of success.”

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