The Opposition in the Lok Sabha today attacked the government for slashing funds for major programmes like internal security and police modernisation, saying this would weaken the fight against terrorism and extremism.
"Everywhere there is reduction (of funds). Is there a problem of coordination between you (Home Affairs Ministry) and Finance (ministry)," Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge asked, adding that the government has allocated less funds to a "very important" ministry like Home Affairs.
Initiating the discussion on the Demands for Grants for Home Ministry for 2017-18, Kharge said in all the important heads of the ministry including internal security, "allocations are quite low in 2017-18 as compared to the previous year".
The government can give figures, but in percentage terms, the allocations have been reduced, he said.
The low allocation "reflects the failure of the government to utilise the funds properly," he said, claiming that the Home department was getting less help from their Finance counterparts.
He also claimed that the government has failed in curbing extremism and naxalism in the country, saying "time and again, we hear new incidents".
"If the government fails to take appropriate action, extremism and terrorism will increase," Kharge said, adding that there has been an increase in instances of infiltration and killing of security forces which reflects worsening of the situation. "Are these acche din (good days)," he asked.
Giving certain figures, Kharge said there was an increase in the number of people killed in 2016 as compared to 2015. He said in 2016, 213 civilians and 65 security forces were killed as compared to 213 and 59 in 2015 respectively.
Similarly, the number of encounters with police also rose to 328 last year from 247 in 2015, he said, adding that "these are your figures".
Kharge said the government should improve and modernise the infrastructure for security forces because they are equally important like the armed forces.
For security forces related infrastructure, the revised estimate was Rs 1,309 crore in 2015-16 but it was reduced to Rs 1,222 crore for 2017-18. "Why have you reduced this. Has naxalism and terrorism reduced," Kharge asked.
"Similarly, funds are also coming down for modernisation of police forces. You have also made the state police weak. They do not only tackle law and order but also (deal with) issues like terrorist attack, railway accidents etc," he said, adding that the budget allocation for modernisation was reduced to Rs 800 crore in 2017-18 from Rs 845 crore a year ago.
Further the government also failed to utilise the funds
allocated for modernisation of arms and ammunitions, the Congress leader said, asking "what was the reason behind this. Who is responsible for this?"
Law and order maintenance was more important and the government should "allocate more funds for this" and the Home Ministry must be given more priority than defence, he said.
Kharge said Rs 120 crore was earmarked in 2016-17 for securing Indo-Pakistan border but the government spent only Rs 50 crore. "What is the reason for this? Government should take action" against those responsible for not utilising the money.
He regretted that the government has reduced the allocation to Rs 100 crore only for the next fiscal.
The Congress leader also observed that the government had failed to spend the money for coastal security. "If you will work like this, then how the situation will improve," he said.
He wanted to know what action the government took on the recommendations of the committee which probed the terrorist attack at Pathankot.
Talking about women's safety, he regretted that the government failed to properly utilise the Nirbhaya Fund.
"How will you stop crimes against women. If you will reduce the funds, how will you provide protection to them? ...Government has failed on all fronts," he said. "What the government is doing to stop atrocities against SCs and STs," Kharge asked.
Participating in the discussion, Harish Meena (BJP) said terrorism and corruption was more rampant during the Congress regime and this government is doing everything to reduce them.
Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar (TMC) said government should fill all the vacancies in the para-military forces and demanded that they should be given modern weapons to deal with left-wing extremism.
Tathagata Satpathy (BJD) said there was a need to change the mind set of police officers who should serve the people and not create fear among the public.
Pandula Ravindra Babu (TDP) demanded that the MPLAD fund should be increased so that the members could spend money on development of security infrastructure.
Vinod Kumar Boianapalli (TRS) said more police force should be deployed in areas which are affected by left-wing extremists.