Current Affairs:The NCTC Debate -3

 

RECOMMENDATIONS
First, the need for harnessing the joint efforts of the Union and State Government to fight the demon of terrorism is too obvious to need iteration. A conjoint expression of their commitment to pooling their intelligence and operational resources should be made in the next meeting of the Inter-State Council as a prelude to establishing the working arrangements.
Second, the State Governments must strengthen their own intelligence and operational capabilities to address the menace of terrorism, including Left Wing Extremism. Their need for financial assistance should be considered sympathetically by New Delhi, but the emphasis has to be on agreed solutions being properly implemented. For instance, the additional forces catered for must be raised, training institutions must be upgraded, police stations authorized must be physically established, arms and ammunition sanctioned must be centrally purchased and supplied and so on. In short, a physical, apart from a financial, audit of devolved funds is necessary.
Third, adequate arrangements are required to  ensure a continuing validation of the professional abilities of the Union and State forces employed in the anti-terrorism and counter-insurgency role. An independent Inspectorate can be suggested for this purpose that would function like an Ombudsman to evaluate the capability of these forces to undertake the challenging tasks confronting them. The need for this outside evaluation is all the more necessary since the intelligence agencies and their activities are not subject to Parliamentary oversight—an idea whose time has also come.

Fourth, an overall operational strategy needs to be devised. The cluster of questions arising is:

How could the States be better enabled to handle anti-terrorism activities more confidently with their own human and material resources? Should the Union para-military forces be deployed only for special operations or routinely in lieu of State Police forces? In
what combat or support role can the Indian Army and Air Force be deployed?
Fifth, the underlying governance issues must be tackled to strengthen the anti-terrorism strategy. Obvious candidate are the establishment of special courts to try terrorism related offences with celerity, credible programs to ensure witness protection and ensure the anonymity of whistle-blowers, the prosecution of politicians and bureaucrats linked to such activities, an effective rotational postings policy for executive officers in the government, implementation of social services and development programs—especially those relating to education and public health and so on.The imperative need to coordinate the anti terrorism intelligence gathering and joint operational efforts of the Union and State governments needs no emphasis. The mechanics have to be reworked by joint consultations after a decent interval, since the present NCTC proposal can only be described as dead on arrival.

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