Securing India's Coastline Post Mumbai Attack
India, with vast coastal border of 7516 kms. covering 9 coastal States and 4 Union Territories, poses serious security issues and challenges. After the Mumbai terror attacks of 26/11, the entire coastal security scenario of the country has been thoroughly reviewed by the Government at various levels. The National Committee on Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security (NCSMCS) against threats for the coastal security has been constituted under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary. It has held detailed deliberations on issues related to coastal security. All the 9 coastal States and 4 Union Territories are regular participants in its meetings.
Many important decisions have been taken by the various Ministries which are under implementation for further strengthening of coastal security in the country. For securing our coastline, police of all coastal States/UTs, State administrations, Indian Navy MHA and other Central Ministries are working in coordination. Nevertheless the task of securing India’s vast coastline is immense.
Coastal Security Scheme (Phase- I)
The Coastal Security Scheme, formulated on the recommendations of the Group of Ministers on ‘Reforming the National Security System’, was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in January 2005 for implementation over five years starting from 2005-06. The scheme provides assistance to 9 coastal States and 4 Union Territories for setting up of 73 coastal police stations, 97 check posts, 58 outposts and 30 barracks, equipped with 204 boats, 153 jeeps and 312 motorcycles. Under the scheme, manpower is provided by the States and UTs. Initially, the Scheme had an outlay of Rs. 400 crore for non-recurring expenditure and Rs. 151 crore for recurring expenditure on fuel, repairs and maintenance of the boats and training of marine police personnel. The scheme has since been extended by one year i.e. uptoMarch 31, 2011 with an additional provision of Rs.95 crore towards the non-recurring expenditure.
Out of the approved 73 coastal police stations, 71 have been operationalised and 48 of these are functioning from their new buildings. Besides, construction of 75 check posts, 54 outposts and 22 barracks has also been completed. Out of the approved 204 boats, 195 were delivered to the coastal States/UTs till 31.12.2010. The 10 Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) for Goa have also been procured. All the vehicles (153 jeeps and 312 motorcycles) have been procured by States and UTs. So far, about 2000 personnel have been trained by the Coast Guard.
Registration of Boats
All fishing/non-fishing boats plying in Indian waters need to get registered under a uniform system. The Ministry of Shipping issued two notifications in June 2009, one for amending the Merchant Shipping (Registration of Fishing Vessels) rules alongwith revised format for registration and another for notifying the list of registrars. States/UTs are taking follow-up action in this regard. The National Informatics Centre (NIC) has developed an online uniform registration system in the country. An amount of Rs.120 lakh has been released to NIC and Rs.581.86 lakh to the Coastal States and UTs for implementation of the programme. Trial run of the application and training is being done and online registration has started.
Issuance Of ID Cards To Fishermen
A Central Sector Scheme on ‘Issuance of Biometric Identity cards to coastal fishermen’ has been launched at a total cost of Rs.72 crore. This project is being funded by the Registrar General of India (RGI). A consortium of three PSUs led by Bharat Electronics Limited has been identified for the work of digitization of data, card production and issuance. Out of 15,59,640 coastal fishermen identified for issuance of biometric ID card, data collection in respect of 8,29,254 (53.17%) and digitization of data in respect of 3,76,828 (45.44%) fishermen has been completed.
RGI is in the process of issuing Multipurpose National Identity Cards (MNICs) to the population in the coastal villages as part of its project of creation of the National Population Register (NPR) in the coastal States/UTs ahead of the Census 2011 with suitable linkage to the existing smart cards. New cards are to be issued by the Department of AHD & Fisheries. In the first phase, 3331 villages on the coastline are being covered. The delivery of identity cards started in December, 2010. Data on more than 120 lakh persons and biometric details for more than 69 lakh persons has been collected so far. Printing of Local Register of Usual Residents (LRUR) has been completed in coastal villages in Gujarat, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep and Puducherry.
The security of ports, particularly of the non-major ports, has always been a matter of great concern. There are 12 major ports and around 200 minor ports in the country. The security of the major ports is being looked after by the CISF while that of all the minor/non-major ports is being taken care of by the State Maritime Boards/State Governments. The 12 major ports are International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) compliant and are subject to security audit once in two years. However, there is no such mechanism of security audit for the non-major ports.
Apart from 12 major ports, 53 minor/non-major ports and 5 shipyards in the country are ISPS compliant. Reassessment of ISPS compliance status of these ports and shipyards has been carried out by the Indian Register of Shipping (IRS). Customs Department in liaison with Ministry of Shipping involving the State Government machineries/State Maritime Boards is taking up necessary action for the non-major ports beyond the aforementioned list of 65 major and non-major ports requiring ISPS compliance.
Under the scheme of ‘Strengthening of Joint Coastal Patrolling off Gujarat and Maharashtra Coast under Operation SWAN’, assistance is being provided to the Coast Guard to procure 15 Interceptor Boats and set up 3 Coast Guard Stations in Dhanu and Murud Janjira in Maharashtra and Veraval in Gujarat at an estimated cost of Rs. 342.56 crore. So far, Rs. 69.11 crore has been released by MHA towards cost of land and boats under the scheme.
Undernoted decisions for overall strengthening of Maritime and coastal security have already been implemented like Enhancement of Patrolling and Surveillance in coastal areas; designating the Indian Navy as the authority responsible for overall maritime security which includes coastal security and offshore security; designating the Coast Guard as the authority responsible for coastal security in territorial waters including areas to be patrolled by Coastal Police; designating DG (Coast Guard) as Commander, Coastal Command responsible for overall co-ordination between Central and State agencies in all matters relating to coastal security; setting up of four Joint Operations Centres (JOCs) at Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Kochi and Port Blair; and finalisation and issuance of Standard operating Procedures (SOP) of all the coastal States/UTs by the Coast Guard.
Security Scheme (Phase- II) Finalised
The proposal of the Coastal Security Scheme (Phase-II), formulated on the basis of vulnerability/gap analysis carried out by the coastal States and UTs in consultation with the Coast Guard was approved by the Government on 24.9.2010 for implementation from 01.4.2011 for period of 5 years. The Scheme is expected to provide support to coastal States/Union Territories to upgrade their coastal security apparatus. The financial outlay of the scheme is Rs.115491.20 lakh for non-recurring component and Rs.42500.00 lakh for recurring expenditure. The salient features in the proposal include setting up of new 131 coastal police stations equipped with 180 boats, 60 jetties, 35 rigid inflatable boats(12 for Lakshadweep and 23 for A&N islands only), 10 large vessels (for A&N Islands only), 131 four wheelers and 242 motorcycles. A lump sum assistance provision of Rs.15 lakh per police station has been made for surveillance equipment, night vision equipment, computer systems and furniture, POL expenses (for first year after supply of 180 boats). The provision of the Annual Maintenance Contract for the boats and training for marine police personnel has also been made.
A special provision of 60 jetties with up-gradation of the existing ones has been made in the new Coastal Security Scheme (Phase-II).
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This article was first published as a part of PIB Features here