State government has removed the controversial draft of the Maharashtra Protection of Internal Security Act from the public domain, having decided to form all-party committee to discuss the issue. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who was in Delhi on Saturday, said that after the state government decided to form the all-party committee, the draft was removed from the government’s website. He also admitted that the draft was prepared by police officials and the anti-terrorism squad and was put up on the website for suggestions from the public even before it was submitted to the state cabinet for approval. “The draft will once again be put in public domain, but only after an all-party consensus is achieved,” he said.
The state government announced the formation of the committee on Friday, after drawing criticism over the draft – which was made public on August 19 – from opposition parties, the Shiv Sena and experts. The draft included controversial provisions such as giving the police the power arrest people who congregate in groups of over 100 without prior permission. It also called for a ban on movies that depicted the police in poor light.
Fadnavis, who participated in a conclave of chief ministers from the BJP, said, “The central government launched the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) in 2009. It was launched in Maharashtra just eight months after our government came into power. Today, all police stations in the state are online and a pilot project for lodging police complaints online will soon be launched in Pune.”
The CM also said the government will make 450 government services available online through its Right to Services Act regime, introduced last year. Currently, more than 200 services are offered online. “We recently launched a project to digitise villages and are now planning to connect 29,000 villages with optical fibre cables to help them go digital. This will help us offer health and education services online and use urban expertise in rural areas. Records and case papers of patients at primary health centres will be available online to expedite their treatment,” he said.