Border security is linked with national security: Amit Shah

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said security of the country’s borders is the priority of the Modi government and it is linked with the national security.

Inaugurating a workshop on the ‘Vibrant Villages Programme’ (VVP) here, Shah also said that developing ‘vibrant villages’ — with all amenities, including education, healthcare facilities — will add an extra layer to the border security of the country.

Shah said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always maintained that border villages are not the last villages of the country but the first villages.

The home minister said security of the country’s borders is the priority of the Modi government and it is linked with the national security and without keeping the villages secured, the borders cannot be kept safe, according to an official statement.

He said the concept of the VVP came into being with focus on two main security aspects — to stop migration from border villages in far-flung areas which have tough climatic conditions; and developing these villages and adding an extra layer of security.

The home minister said Prime Minister Modi has conceptualised the VVP with a lot of devotion and in the spirit of the Constitution that every border village should get all facilities, similar to any other village in the mainland.

He said that since 2014, the prime minister made a lot of efforts to improve the border infrastructure, followed by introducing several public welfare schemes for border villages and now launching the VVP to stop migration from border villages.

Shah said district collectors in border districts under VVP should take at least five initiatives every year in every border village to give impetus to the Vibrant Villages Programme.

These include– initiatives related to tourism, generation of employment opportunities, agriculture, handicrafts and cooperatives, increasing basic facilities, and, to achieve 100 per cent saturation of central and state schemes.

He said the VVP can truly be promoted and encouraged by giving emphasis on homestay facilities.

The home minister said there is ample scope for employment generation through cooperatives in villages under VVP. He said that at least 30 per cent of the daily expenditure of the ITBP should be linked with rural employment opportunities.

He said regular reviews at all levels regarding this should be held and special efforts made to establish connectivity with 168 unconnected border villages in four states and Union Territories.

Shah said the government of India has spent more than Rs 25,000 crore on border infrastructure in the last nine years. He said 1,134 kilometer long border road has been constructed and almost all check-posts have been completed.

The home minister said there are three main ways to develop the border villages — ensuring 100 per cent saturation of public welfare schemes of the government of India in villages, promoting financial inclusion and encouraging digital and sentimental connectivity of the villages with the rest of the country.

He said priority should be given to vibrant villages in mapping of schemes, both at central and state level.

According to the spirit of the Constitution, every village has equal right on resources of the country and no village should be deprived of such resources, he said.

Shah said an ‘I’ should be added to VVP, an acronym for ‘Vibrant Villages Programme’, to make it ‘VVIP’, which stands for ‘Very Very Important Programme’.

He said for decades after Independence, the citizens in border villages were left behind in the developmental process.

The home minister said now, under the leadership of PM Modi, time has come to provide all-inclusive development to all citizens of the country by providing them basic facilities like drinking water, electricity, healthcare facilities etc