Monday, Oct 20, 2014

Internal security may move out of Home, report directly to PM

Written by Amitav Ranjan | New Delhi | Posted: May 22, 2014 2:02 am

AMID talks of key ministries being streamlined under the new government, work is underway to isolate the Internal Security division from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and place it directly under the Prime Minister.

MHA sources said the two wings in the Internal Security division could be shifted to South Block, while the various agencies under the ministry would be retained at their present locations. The shift to the PMO would put agencies like the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and National Investigation Agency (NIA) directly under the National Security Adviser (NSA), whose role is set to be strengthened in the BJP-led government.

The MHA would have no say in taking decisions on key inputs or steps provided or taken by these agencies. Earlier, the MHA called the shots on taking action against terrorism or sharing intelligence inputs gathered by the Multi Agency Centre, with enforcement agencies of other ministries and the NSA merely being apprised of the decisions.

The move would truncate the MHA’s role to paramilitary forces deployment, coordination with state police forces and their modernisation, foreigners division, state awards and mints.

Former Home Secretary R K Singh may be made the Minister of State of a downsized MHA. It is for this reason that BJP president Rajnath Singh, who was said to be in the running for the MHA, may opt for the Ministry of Defence now.

In a related development, sources said the Cabinet Secretary on Wednesday asked key economic ministries to consider amalgamating with their upstream counterparts. One key suggestion was to merge the coal and power ministries — the former is learnt to have opposed the move while the latter agreed.

The move, part of the strategy to keep the Cabinet small while inducting more Ministers of State, is being seen as an attempt by Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi to stay nimble-footed on decision-making.

BJP sources said former bureaucrats-turned-BJP advisors have recommended merging the ministries of Petroleum with New & Renewable Energy under the Energy umbrella, as reported by The Indian Express on Wednesday. And it is almost certain that the Ministry of Corporate Affairs would be shifted into Finance as much of what the former codifies or executes gets reflected in the revenue outcome of the latter, they said.

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