Naxals are possibly receiving foreign funds but the chunk of their money comes from extortion of corporate houses and 'levy' imposed by them on mining, the government said on Wednesday.
Spread over in areas spanning from Jharkhand to Andhra Pradesh with command centres in jungles of four states of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Odhisa and Andhra Pradesh, the funding issue of Naxals has been a cause of concern to the states as well as the central government.
In a written reply in Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Home R P N Singh said it was nearly impossible to know the exact amount collected by the Communist Party of India-Maoists but he quoted a study by the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, which had pegged the money at Rs 140 crore per year.
"Though an exact quantification of their finance is not possible, it has been assessed in a study conducted by the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses that the CPI-Maoist has been collecting not less than Rs 140 crore annually from a variety of sources," he said.
The main sources of funds for Maoists include extortion from contractors of 'tendu patta' (used to manufacture bidis), from infrastructure and development work contractors, 'levy' from businessmen and corporate houses, besides robbing banks and public and private properties to augment their finances.
"Further, the possibility of certain front organisations of the CPI-Maoists party clandestinely getting foreign funds cannot be ruled out," he said, adding Naxals "extort considerable 'levy' from various illegal mining mafia groups.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has termed Naxalism as the biggest internal security challenge, which needs to be dealt with an iron hand.