India’s Coastal Security Profile: The OfficialView
Followingthe 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai, when attackers entered the city through thesea route, a major revamp of coastal security has been attempted, ongoinginitiatives galvanized and new initiatives undertaken. This was necessary giventhat India hasa coastline of 7517 kms of which, more than 5400 kms is the length of themainland coastline. Keeping the vast coastline safe and secure is a majorresponsibility undertaken by the Coast Guard, the State police and the Navy.
Subsequentto the terrorist attacks in Mumbai on 26/11, the entire coastal securityscenario of the country has been thoroughly reviewed by the Government. Severalhigh-level meetings were held in the Ministries/Departments of Home Affairs,Defence, Shipping and Fisheries, etc. to review the coastal securityarrangements of the country and address related issues. This included aninter-Ministerial meeting and a video conference, taken by the CabinetSecretary in February and June, 2009. The Union Home Secretary also reviewedthe coastal security of the country in December, 2008 and June, 2009. TheDefence Minister reviewed coastal security in the meetings held in March, May,June and November, 2009. During thesemeetings, several important decisions/ initiatives in respect of maritime andcoastal security of the country were taken.
A comprehensive Coastal SecurityScheme was approved in January 2005 for implementation over a five-year periodcommencing 2005-06. This scheme, based on the recommendations of the Group of Ministerson ‘Reforming the National Security System’, was formulated after consultationswith all agencies concerned including State Governments. The Coastal SecurityScheme, which is a supplemental initiative, aims at enhancing coastal vigilanceby strengthening infrastructure for patrolling and surveillance of the coastalareas of the nine coastal States of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka,Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal as well as in thefour Union Territories of Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep, Puducherry and Andaman& Nicobar Islands. Under the Scheme, 73 coastal police stations, 97 checkposts, 58 outposts and 30 operational barracks have been approved. The Police Stations will be equipped with 204vessels, 153 jeeps and 312 motorcycles.
A lump sum assistance of Rs.10 lakhsper police station has also been approved for computers and equipment, etc. Theapproved five-year outlay for the Scheme is Rs.400 crore for non-recurringexpenditure and Rs.151 crore for recurring expenditure on fuel, maintenance andrepairs of vessels and training of personnel. Under this scheme, manpower is tobe provided by the concerned coastal State/Union Territory. The implementationof the scheme is being done by the concerned State Governments/UTAdministrations. Construction of 35 coastal police stations has been completedand work is in progress in another 16. Additionally, the construction work isalso in progress in respect of check posts, outposts and barracks approvedunder the Scheme.
Allthe coastal States and UTs have sanctioned the requisite executive posts to bedeployed with the coastal Police stations etc. The technical posts for themotor boats have also been sanctioned by all the coastal States and UTs. Therecruitment process is underway. This Ministry, in consultation with Ministryof Defence, has finalised and circulated crew-structure for the boats and theirremunerations, for guidance/compliance by the States.
The procurement of interceptor boats is beingdone centrally through two PSUs viz. M/s GSL, Goa andM/s GRSE, Kolkata. Ministry of Home Affairs has signed a contract with thesevendors in March 2008 for supply of 84 (5-Ton) boats and 110 (12-Ton)boats. So far, funds to the tune of Rs. 122.41 crores have been paid to the twoshipyards. The delivery schedule of the boats has been compressed by six monthsand delivery of all the boats will now be completed by October, 2010. The supply of interceptor boats has startedfrom April, 2009 and the two shipyards are delivering boats as per themonth-wise delivery schedules submitted by them. As on December 31, 2009, 66 boats have been deliveredand the remaining 138 will be delivered by October this year.
Witha view to ensuring timely implementation of various decisions taken by theGovernment in respect of coastal security of the country, the Government hasconstituted a ‘National Committee on Strengthening Maritime and CoastalSecurity against threats from the Sea’ with Cabinet Secretary as the Chairman.The committee consists of representatives of all the concernedMinistries/Departments/Organisations in the Government as well as ChiefSecretaries/Administrators of the coastal States/UTs. The first meeting of theNational Committee was held on September4, 2009, wherein, the progress of implementation of all the majordecisions in respect of the coastal security was reviewed. The variousdecisions taken in these meetings are being followed up by the concernedagencies.
The coastal States/UTs haveundertaken vulnerability/gap analysis in consultation with the Coast Guard tofirm up their additional requirements for coastal security, as a prelude toformulation of Phase-II of the Coastal Security Scheme. The Coast Guard hasbeen involved in the exercise and recommended the setting up of an additional131 coastal police stations along the Indian coastline. This includesupgradation of 20 existing Police Stations in A&N islands. Based on theinputs from the States, Coast Guard etc., the contours of the Coastal Security Scheme (Phase-II) are underfinalization.
The Government has decided that allthe fishing/non-fishing boats plying in Indian waters need to get registeredunder a uniform system. The Department of Shipping is the nodal department inthis regard. Two notifications, one for amending the MS (Registration ofFishing Vessels) rules along with a revised format for registration and anotherfor notifying the list of registrars, were issued by the Ministry of Shippingin consultation with the Ministry of Law in June 2009. States/UTs are takingfollow-up action in this regard.
It has been decided that all type ofboats would be fitted/provided with navigational and communication equipment tofacilitate vessel identification and tracking. The Department of Shipping isthe nodal department for this. The DG, Shipping has issued two circulars toensure that all types of vessels including fishing vessels other than those ofless than 20 mtrs are installed with AIS type B transponders for the purpose ofidentification and tracking. A Group under the chairmanship of the NauticalAdviser has worked out the specifications of the AIS transponders required forinstallation on fishing vessels and submitted the same to the Department ofShipping for further action.
In addition tothis, a Committee under the DG, Coast Guard, has been constituted to suggesttype of transponders on vessels of less than 20 mtrs length. The Committee hasdecided to carry out NCNC trials of suitable tracking systems for sub-20 mtrs.boats, which are:-
· Satellite based
· AIS/VHF based, and
· VHF/GPS based
The Ministry of Shipping is alsoprocessing the establishment of a coastal Automatic Identification System chainin a time -bound manner. All fishermen would be issued ID cards which would berelatable to a single centralized data-base. The Department of AnimalHusbandry, Dairying & Fisheries which is the nodal agency is takingnecessary action in this regard in consultation with all concerned. The uniformformat for data collection for ID cards has been finalised and sent to all theCoastal States/UTs with the request to commence the data collectionprocess.
AConsortium of Public Sector Undertakings, led by Bharat Electronics Limited,has been offered the task of digitization of data, capturing of biometricdetails and digital photo and designing and manufacturing of biometric ID cardsfor fishermen. The detailed proposal received from BEL on 26th August, 2009 is being finalised in theDepartment of Fisheries. [MHA IndiaPress Release].