Maoist Rebels/  Command Battalions for Resolute Action
A member of Command Battalions for Resolute Action (COBRA), specially trained to take on Maoist rebels, walks inside their makeshift camp near Lalgarh, in the West Midnapore district, some 170 km (106 miles) west of the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, June 19, 2009.Reuters

The government is working on a multi pronged people-centric strategy to deal with Maoist violence in the country, says Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh.

Inaugurating the All India Editors' Conference on Social Sector issues in Puducherry Friday, the minister said, "Only police-centric response to deal with the biggest internal security challenge is not going to succeed."

The Maoist menace could be taken head on by addressing the developmental concerns of the tribals, besides increasing the intensity of political activity, he added.

Giving the example of Junglemahal area in West Bengal, where intense political activity has forced the Maoists to take a back seat, the Minister said that people-centric welfare measures and better and sensitive administrative mechanisms were other necessary ways to deal with the Naxal challenge, besides resorting to security measures through police and paramilitary forces.

Dwelling in detail on the problems in dealing with Naxal violence, which has taken deep roots in 78 districts of the country, Ramesh said, "Failure of politics and development were the reasons for the upsurge in violence".

Assuring that the Centre would redesign the rural development programs and make them more sensitive to the needs of the tribal communities, the Minister said that he was working on the institutionalization of the Concurrent Evaluation Network through the NGOs and research institutes at the Central and State level to get the regular feedback about the implementation of rural development schemes on the ground level.

The minister said that he was also planning to give more flexibility to the state governments and his target was that by 2017, the states would prioritize about 50 percent of all the rural schemes spending, besides enhancing the importance of neglected sectors like drinking water supply and sanitation.