Srinagar, Feb 02: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Tuesday revealed that the annual security related expenditure (SRE) for the J&K UT was Rs 1267 Crore—highest ever since the killing of top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in 2016.
The highest ever figure of SRE also coincided with the financial year of 2019-20, the year when Centre announced scrapping the article 370 and sliced the erstwhile State of J&K into two Union Territories—J&K and Ladakh.
As per news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G K Reddy in a written reply to a query raised by BJP MP Jugal Kishore in the Parliament said: “During the financial year of year 2019-2020, Rs 1267 Crore were released as under the SRE (Police).”
The reply further reads that in addition, the MHA also released Rs 40.20 Crore for the modernization of J&K police for the same period i.e. 2019-2020. “Modernisation of the police force is an ongoing process,” the reply states.
Figures available with the KNO reveal that during 2018-19 Centre allotted Rs 650 crore to J&K under the SRE scheme. In 2017-18, the figure was Rs 628 crore and in 2016-2017, the amount released by the Centre was Rs 750 crore. Since the scheme was launched in 1989, the Government of India has released almost 9000 crore alone for J&K’s security related expenditure.
The money disbursed by the government of India to the J&K government as “security expenditure” got doubled compared to the 2018-19 figure (financial year) as Kashmir witnessed over three-month long spontaneous shutdown coupled with stringent curbs even though the there was no major law and order situation despite the fact that over 300 protests were reported across the Valley.
The MHA reimburses the expenditure incurred by the UT government on a variety of security-related measures. These include expenditure on carriage of constabulary, material supplies, rent of accommodation, honorarium to Special Police Officers, civic action programmes, air-lift charges, raising cost of India Reserve Battalions, transport, boarding and lodging, alternate accommodation for forces, etc, officials said.
Officials in the MHA said that the spike in the expenditure appears to have occurred because of massive mobilization of the forces and other measures in the wake of revocation of special status to erstwhile J&K State.
A senior security official said that over 400 additional companies are brought to the valley after the Centers announcement of abrogation of Article 370 to curb possible protests. “The forces remained deployed across the length and breadth of the UT for three months, which itself was a challenge,” he said wishing anonymity.
Officials in the MHA opine that to support the UT government, the central government makes available Central armed police forces as and when necessary and provides all possible help to strengthen the UT police—(KNO)