The Indian government is attempting to buy its way to victory in the long-running battle against Maoist insurgents, by putting a price tag on everything from rebel bullets and missiles to the fighters.
The scheme announced last week offers rebels who surrender a one-off payment of 150,000 rupees (HK$24,000), a monthly stipend of 2,000 rupees and a range of payments for surrendered weapons.
Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said the effort was aimed at encouraging Maoists to join mainstream society, by providing employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for the rebels.
However, most Maoists appear to have rejected the government's offers, with the rebels in eastern India increasing their attacks in the past week and at least one rebel leader rejecting the call for their surrender.
'They should know that with such a mean offer the government cannot make us ditch these deprived downtrodden people, for whom we have been fighting,' said Kishanji, second-in-command of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), from his hideout in the eastern state of West Bengal. He was speaking in a telephone interview.
Under the scheme, 25,000 rupees is offered for a surrendered Universal machine gun, sniper rifle or a rocket-propelled grenade. A surface-to-air missile would fetch 20,000 rupees, an AK series assault rifle 15,000 rupees, a satellite phone 10,000 rupees and 5,000 rupees for a wireless communication set, the home ministry statement said. The payments go as far as three rupees for each round of ammunition.
The surrendered Maoist guerillas would be put up in a special transit camp and provided extra security, so they are not targeted by captured fellow cadres.
While serious crimes committed by those who surrendered would continue to be tried in the courts, plea bargaining can be allowed in minor offences, the statement said.
But Kishanji said India's leaders could 'never understand the basis of the people's movement' and 'their attempt to mislead the Maoist leaders with their bait' would never succeed.
'Our party workers are driven by a high level of dedication. They will all reject such surrender offers outright. No true Maoist can fall prey to such mean temptations,' said Kishanji, who is also chief of the Central Military Commission of CPI [Maoists]. 'There is no question of quitting arms.'
Although a 5,000-strong police-paramilitary force patrols West Bengal, an estimated 350 rebels led by Kishanji, have been regularly killing their targets.
In the eastern part of the state, the guerillas have in the past two months killed 50 alleged police informers and others they said were corrupt workers of the state's ruling Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M).
More than 500 CPI-M leaders - who believe themselves to be Maoist targets - have fled West Bengal in recent months. Media reports said most local police held two or three life insurance policies, spending up to 20 per cent of their income on the premiums.
The Maoists have recently stepped up their attacks. In 2007, they killed 231 members of the security forces followed by 230 last year. Maoist landmine and gun attacks had already taken the official toll to 265 for this year. In July, in a single ambush they killed 36 security personnel in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.
Indian home ministry reports show that up to 22,000 Maoist rebels are active in 20 of the country's 29 states, having carved a 'red corridor' from the border with Nepal in the north to Tamil Nadu in the deep south.
Chidambaram recently said that 'real and perceived neglect and deprivation' was at the root of the Maoist problem.
This week India's prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, admitted that the campaign against Maoist guerillas had failed to produce satisfactory results.
'It is a matter of concern that despite our efforts the level of violence in the affected states continues to rise... Despite its sanguinary nature, the movement manages to retain the support of a section of the tribal communities and the poorest of the poor in many affected areas,' Singh said.
'It has influence among certain sections of the civil society, the intelligentsia ... all this adds to the complexity of the problem.
'As I have stated before, dealing with left-wing extremism requires a nuanced strategy, a holistic approach. It cannot be treated solely as a law and order problem.'