Introduction: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan once proclaimed, No one in this world can be safe or comfortable when so many people are suffering and deprived’ in Spread of Extremism. Therefore, suffering and deprivation due to under-development’s bound to have implications on issues of internal security.

Simply speaking there are several areas in the country where crucial elements of survival, like food, shelter and clothing, are a luxury for people and these areas also lack basic infrastructure like road, drinking water and electricity. In such cases, there is economic insecurity leading to crime and other anti-social activities.


Major components of development are:

  1. Economic development: Employment, per capital income, industrial development
  2. Social development: Gender equality, women empowerment, pluralism, respect for diversity, education of children, social security etc.
  3. Political development: Democracy, political rights, civil liberties.
  4. Human development: Health, education, human rights, life with dignity and self-esteem.
  5. Infrastructure development: Transport, communication, highways, rail network, telephone connectivity, cyber broadband network.
  6. Sustainable development: Ecological safety, environmental protection, bio-diversity preservation
  7. Administrative development: Good governance, time bound delivery of public services, public participation in government, transparency, accountability, pro-people governance.


For growth of terrorism in a particular area, we need to have some fertile breeding ground. Poverty, unemployment and lack of development provide that fertile ground. Terrorism needs an ideology which could be in the name of religion, race, and region or the Marxist ideology of the egalitarian society.

Therefore, lack of development has direct as well as indirect linkages with extremism.

  • Economic Issues

Poverty, unemployment and lack of education continue to be portray as fundamental drivers of extremism. Where poverty and unemployment’s often blamed for creating feelings of hopelessness and desperation, it also results in anger, resentment, despair and sense of injustice which are a volatile combination in the minds of young men and women. These young minds can be manipulates to pick up arms and also capable of carrying out more effective and brutal attacks.

  • Social Issues

High levels of social fragmentation, perception of exclusion and marginalization in some segments of society act as push factors for extremism. Relative deprivation and frustrated expectations for economic improvement and social mobility are also major drivers of extremism.

  • Political Issues

These factors are also an in-direct cause for spread of extremism. In places where human rights and democratic values are lacking, disaffected groups are more likely to opt for a path of violence. Extremism also flourishes due to severe restrictions on civil liberties and political rights. Where Civil liberties include freedom of expression, association and movement, and the press; freedom of and freedom from, religion; the right to due process; and protection for minorities and potential encroachment on their fundamental rights that may result from majority rule.

Political rights refer to existence of rules and mechanisms (e.g., free and fair elections) that enable individuals and communities to affect governmental decision-making, and to participate in political processes more generally.

  • Governance Deficit

Ungoverned or poorly governed places may enable extremists to establish sanctuaries or safe havens. Poorly governed places may also create passive or active support for extremists among communities that feel ignored by the government. Where no government agency is able to provide for security and the rule of law, extremists may be able to impose their own order, and they be able to extract money or recruits from the population.


Social and economic development policies can contribute to peace and stability. The sections of society benefitted with development may start working to inhibit local support to extremists. Whereby the development can help to reduce the pools of potential recruits by reducing their perceived grievances and providing the members of these communities with viable alternatives to terrorism. The most successful social and economic development policies are those that are:

  • Developed in consultation with community leaders.
  • Are based on needs and assessments that address the specific requirements of targeted communities.
  • Are accompanied by disbursement mechanism that ensure proper fiscal management and non-partisanship.

Social and economic development can be used as ‘stick’ to discourage terrorism. For instance, Tripura, Mizoram and other parts of the north-east where the spread of extremism ideology has been contained after robust and holistic development of these areas.


  • The fifth schedule states briefly that all scheduled areas of the country which are forest reserves and inhabited by scheduled tribes are to be administered by the governors of the states by appointing tribal advisory councils from among the tribal community of forest reserve or scheduled area.
  • The Ninth Schedule of the constitution deals with the fact that cultivable land which over thousands of years had come under the ownership of upper caste should be acquired by the government and redistributed among India’s landless peasantry. Since land revenue was a state subject, the states were to legislate land ceiling laws and implement them by acquiring farmlands from landlords and redistributing them to landless farmers who for centuries worked on the land of landowners.
  • Politically, the PESA, (Panchayats Extension to scheduled areas) Act, 1996 gives radical governance powers to the tribal community and recognizes its traditional community rights over local and natural resources. It not only accepts the validity of ‘customary law, social and religious practices, and also traditional management practices of community resources’, but also directs the state governments not to make any law which is inconsistent with these.
  • Forest rights act 2006 recognizes and vests the forest rights of occupation to the scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who have been residing in such forests for generations but whose rights could not be recorded. The act is an important instrument for improving the livelihoods of the people dependent on forests by securing land rights.


The motto should be to end left wing extremism by ending extreme poverty and rampant unemployment. Anger, resentment and despair are a volatile combination in the minds of young men and women who are little hope for escaping their situation. Building of capacity is the essence of development and is a long-term process. The following are some of the steps requires.

  1. Sensitization to local context and customs, and addressing the critical needs of conflict affected communities.
  2. Giving more emphasis to topics like community development, governance, service delivery, human rights and political grievances.
  3. Improved infrastructure and large investment in infrastructure.
  4. Protecting tribal rights
  5. Ensuring social security, livelihood security.
  6. Employment opportunities through tax holidays to investments in those areas.
  7. Food security and education.
  8. Land reforms and equitable distribution of infrastructure projects.
  9. Anti-corruption efforts.

Sources- TH, PIB