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    Creative Commons License
    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    May 16, 2008

    The cost of terror

    Every year, it seems like there're 2-3 major terrorist attacks in India. I've already written here about Mumbai, 2006 and Bangalore, 2005. Each attack results in around 50-100 deaths at least (sometimes more!) and several hundreds of people injured.

    The government always says the same thing about it being a conspiracy to disrupt communal harmony and those doing it are jealous of India's growth and peace initiatives, or are non-state actors who are pissed off with India trying to build good relations with neighbouring countries. Ex-gratia payments (of the order of 5 lakh for dead people and 1 lakh for injured ones) are announced.

    So if you work out the arithmetic, every year, the government shells out upwards of Rs. 7 crores on ex-gratia payments alone (assuming 50 dead & 100 injured per attack and 2 attacks a year) and it has done so for the past 15 years, since there is a dramatic upswing in terror attacks in India after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 beginning with the 1993 blasts in Bombay. Before 1993, attacks by Khalistani terrorists or ULFA in Assam were mostly localized to around the region that the groups were fighting for. Since 1992 though, most areas in the country have been impacted.

    So over a period of (at least) 15 years, without factoring in the real value of money, various governments have spent over Rs. 100 crores (minimum!) on ex-gratia payments. If only that amount had been spent on improving the police, military and intelligence establishments so that prevention of terror was the primary aim, so many lives and livelihoods could have been saved.

    PS: Remember that this amount of Rs. 100 crores does not include the productivity loss for the economy due to deaths and injuries, the impact on insurance companies from the claims, etc.

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