Linkages between the Development and Spread of Extremism

Linkages between the Development and Spread of Extremism

This article deals with ‘Linkages between the Development and Spread of Extremism.’ This is part of our series on ‘Internal Security’, an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.

Linkages between the Development and Spread of Extremism

What is Development?

Development encompasses the needs and means to provide a better life for the masses. It not only refers to economic growth but also human development. Developmental efforts should address the lack of capabilities, resources and opportunities to step out of poverty and deprivation.

It is a multi-dimensional phenomenon & measured on the following dimensions:-

1. Level of economic growth 2. Level of health services
3. Level of education 4. Degree of modernization
5. Status of woman 6. Level of nutrition
7. Quality of housing 8. Distribution of goods & services

What is Extremism?

  • Extremism is an ideology or political act far outside the perceived political centre of society & that claim to violate common moral standards.
  • Though this is a relative term which invites disagreement regarding benchmarks, it is broadly agreed that extremist views are not necessarily illegal and do not automatically lead to violence or harm. Extremism becomes a concern when those views promote violence, a phenomenon known as violent extremism.
  • Examples of Extremism in India
    1. Terrorism
    2. Naxalism
    3. Insurgency in North-East
    4. Mob Violence etc. 

Common indicators in extremism-affected areas

1. Governance deficit

  • There is no primary sustainable employment.
  • There are no basic healthcare and education facilities.
  • There is a lack of law & order and grievance redressal mechanisms.

2. Geographical Indicators

The geography of such a place is characterized by 

  1. Difficult terrain
  2. High forest cover
  3. Inaccessibility
  4. Tribal areas 

3. Social & Economic Indicators

Society and economy are characterized by

  1. High levels of poverty 
  2. Class & caste divisions
  3. Lack of gainful employment for youth 
  4. Very low levels of industrialization

4. Misc. Indicators

  • Drug Trafficking 
  • Religion & conversion issues 

So, what is the relationship between development and extremism?

There is a ’cause and effect relationship’ between development and extremism. But there is a debate on which one is the cause and which is the effect. 

  1. View 1: Underdevelopment leads to Extremism. E.g., Naxalism in Chhattisgarh, MP, Odisha etc.  
  2. View 2: Extremism leads to Underdevelopment. E.g., Entrepreneurs and FDI remains away from extremism-prone areas. 

Some scholars argue that development automatically generates a peace dividend through de-escalating conflict and political violence. Others argue development itself is the peace dividend that can arise after law and order has been established with the force of arm. These people believe that the spread of extremism makes any meaningful development effort useless. 

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