Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Thursday that borders can be permanently secured only when border villages are populated by patriotic citizens who are concerned for the country, asking the border-guarding forces to use the Vibrant Village Programme (VVP) for the same.
Mr. Shah said boots on the ground and fencing were necessary but borders can be truly secured when “we create villages with people who are concerned for the country”.
Mr. Shah while speaking at an event to launch the Prahari app for the Border Security Force (BSF) said the border-guarding forces should strengthen VVP on the ground to achieve the objective of securing the borders. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the programme in her Union Budget speech on February 1.
Mr. Shah said the scheme was still in the works but it should be used by all border-guarding forces to encourage tourism in border villages, to make them self-reliant and vibrant.
The Budget provisions of the scheme has been sent to the Expenditure Finance Committee for its approval and it will be presented before the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for approval.
The Minister informed all senior officers of BSF that it is necessary in the border districts for all the welfare programmes run by the Government of India and State governments to be 100% implemented with the help of the district Collectors. He said, “If we equip those people, who are leaving the border villages with the Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Yojana, then they get a reason to stay in the village. If they are provided with gas, electricity and drinking water, they will feel someone is taking care of them and they will stay back,” Mr. Shah said.
Mr. Shah said in the past six months, the BSF has shot down 22 drones/Unmanned Aerial Vehicles along the Pakistan border.
He added that 26,000 kg of narcotics and 2,500 arms and ammunition were recovered by the BSF in the past three years. BSF is deployed along the Pakistan and Bangladesh borders.
“We have succeeded to a large extent in countering drones from across the border. There are two aspects — to observe, jam and shoot them down and second is to keep a watch through radars. We have achieved 100% success in the first category,” Mr. Shah said.
He said fencing could not be done at some places due to difficult topography, however construction of 140 km of fencing and 400 km of roads has been completed in difficult places along with construction of 120 border outposts.