Why in news?
Recently, Lieutenant Governor of the Jammu and Kashmir declared to revive Village Defence Committees (VDC) amid recent militant attacks.
About Village Defence Committees:
- The VDCs were first formed in the erstwhile Doda district (now Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban districts) in mid 1990s as a force multiplier against militant attacks.
- The then Jammu and Kashmir administration decided to provide residents of remote hilly villages with weapons and give them arms training to defend themselves.
- The VDCs have now been renamed as Village Defence Guards (VDG).
- The new scheme to set up VDGs in vulnerable areas of J&K was approved by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in March last year.
- Like a VDC member, each VDG will be provided a gun and 100 rounds of ammunition.
- Both VDG and VDC is a group of civilians provided guns and ammunition to tackle militants in case of attack until the arrival of security forces.
- Under the new scheme, the persons leading the VDGs will be paid Rs 4,500 per month by the government, while others will get Rs 4,000 each.
- In the VDCs, only the Special Police Officers (SPOs) leading them were provided a remuneration, of Rs 1,500 monthly.
- The SPOs, the lowest rank in the J&K Police, used to be retired army, para military or police personnel.
- A minimum of 10-15 ex-servicemen, ex-policemen and able-bodied local youth were enrolled in each VDC on a voluntary basis.
- On an average, at least five of them were provided .303 rifles and 100 rounds each, through the district Superintendent of Police.
- The allotment of weapons could go up depending on the credentials of the volunteers, total population of a village and its security requirements, as assessed by the district magistrate and SSP concerned.