Raising ITBP Strength & Vibrant Village Programme

    0
    893

    Context

    • Recently, the Union Cabinet approved the following decisions:
      • Raising seven new ITBP battalions thus inducting an additional 9000 troops.
      • Allocated ?4,800 crores under the Vibrant Village Programme (VVP) to stop migration and boost tourism in villages bordering China.
      • Cleared a proposal for a 4.1 km Shinku-La tunnel on the Manali Darcha-Padum-Nimmu axis to allow all-weather connectivity to Ladakh.

    About

    • The decision will increase the strength of the ITBP from the current 88,000 to 97,000, making it the fourth-largest Central Armed Police Force (CAPF). The step aimed at strengthening the security grid on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
    • The decision to raise additional battalions was taken keeping an eye on the need for effective monitoring in the border areas.

    What are the challenges along the China border?

    • Territorial Disputes: India and China have several territorial disputes along their border, which has led to frequent stand-offs and tensions. 
    • Infrastructure Challenges:  The Border region is rugged, steep, and inhospitable, which makes it difficult to build and maintain infrastructure. This includes roads, railways, airports, and other necessary infrastructure for both civilian and military purposes.
    • Military Build-up: China is aggressively increasing its military presence as seen in Doklam and Galwan valley
    • Lack of Development: Areas along the border are underdeveloped, with poor infrastructure for basic amenities like electricity, water, and healthcare. 
    • Modern Warfare tactics used by China like Cyberthreats, drone attacks, use of malware to infiltrate security networks.
    • Economic Imbalance: China has a trade surplus of $69 billion creating a significant economic imbalance that has led to political pressures influencing India’s foreign policy.

    What is the Vibrant Village Programme?

    • The centrally sponsored village development scheme was first announced in the 2022 Budget.
    • It will cover the border areas of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Ladakh.
    • It will cover 2,963 villages with 663 of them to be covered in the first phase. The total outlay is for financial years 2022-23 to 2025-26.
    • There will not be an overlap with the Border Area Development Programme.
    • The scheme aids to identify and develop the economic drivers based on local natural human and other resources of the border villages on the northern border and the development of growth centres on the “Hub and Spoke Model” through promotion of social entrepreneurship, empowerment of youth and women through skill development and entrepreneurship, leveraging the tourism potential through the promotion of local cultural, traditional knowledge and heritage and development of sustainable eco-agribusinesses on the concept of “One village-One product” through community-based organisations, Cooperatives, SHGs, NGOs etc.

    Shinku-La tunnel 

    • The Shinku La Tunnel will be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 1,681 crore to provide all-weather connectivity in Ladakh.
    • The tunnel will be completed by December 2025.
    • The Shinku-la that connects Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul valley with the Zanskar valley in the Union Territory of Ladakh takes the route across Darcha-Shinkula-Padum-Nimu and is an alternative that connects Leh Ladakh with the state of Himachal Pradesh.

                               Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) Force

    • ITBP was raised in 1962, for reorganizing the frontier intelligence and security setup along the Indo-Tibetan border.
    • In 1992, parliament enacted the ITBPF Act, and in the year 2004, the entire stretch of the India-China Border comprising 3488 Km was assigned to the ITBP for Border Guarding duty.
    • With additional tasks entrusted to ITBP from time to time on border guarding, counter-insurgency, and internal security roles, the number of ITBP Battalions increased gradually

    Source: The Hindu