Provisions for Border Management in Budget 22-23.
Budget is an annual exercise for which we eagerly look for as it sets the roadmap at least for one year. Our long wait was over with the Budget announcements on 1st Feb 2022. Though several key announcements were made we will restrict to the provisions made for strengthening Border Security.
It is the first time that few major but specific interventions were announced besides the routine budgetary support provided for regularly for Border Management.
While in the MHA Demand for Grants Capital outlay for Border Infra & Management increased from BE of Rs 1921Cr (RE Rs 2386 Cr) in 21-22 to BE of Rs 2517 Cr in 22-23, in the MOD Demand for Grants Gross Budgetory Support for BRDB works increased from BE of Rs 2500 Cr (RE Rs 3500 Cr) in 21-22 to Rs 3500 Cr in 22-23.
The BRDB mainly caters to Indo China Border while MHA caters to all the Borders including Coastal Security. The increase in the BE for Border Infrastructure is mainly on account of Organisations fully utilising the BE of 21-22.
However there is need to hasten the Infra creation especially on ICB and IMB. Time has come to expand the quantum of works taken up by these organisations even it is a one time measure and adopt Fast Track Measures (akin to fast Track Weapon Procurements ) to plan, appraise, approve & execute these projects. We must keep in mind that we cannot afford the luxury of wasting even a single day in Border Infra creation.
Notwithstanding the abovementioned announcements what really caught our attention were two new major schemes provided for in the budget viz Parvatmala and Vibrant Villages. It is a very welcome move. Large number of villages especially those in close vicinity to Zero line have missed out to winds of development seen in the Towns etc prompting villagers to migrate to Towns which are usually away from zero line thus we see reverse migration or Thinning of Population from the border, which makes area near zero line as no man land thus making it vulnerable. This is especially seen on ICB. This is an avoidable situation. The empty villages on un-demarcated border may draw attention of PLA Patrols which have tendency to trespass and creep into our areas. Besides these villagers are our eyes and ears and act as frontline to keep our Forces (Army and ITBP) posted with movements of the PLA Patrols.
Parvatmala though a small initiatve ( 60 Km Ropeway to inaccessible places) will provide much needed connectivity to such remote areas. The Vibrant Villages scheme will provide basic facilities like Schools, Health Infra, Housing, Power, Drinking water, Sanitation etc in a very targeted manner to these villages. With their needs taken care of, hope the villagers will not be considering the option of moving to hinterland where the life is more convenient than in these Zero line villages. These initiatives will provide a multiplier effect to over all Border Security.
Therefore these Schemes if implemented effectively and in its true spirit it may go long way in strengthening the Border Management.
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