Home dept favours US-style security agency for country
At a time when some states, including those ruled by UPA allies, are accusing the Centre of undermining the country's federal structure, the home department of Maharashtra government has backed the Centre-state relations panel's suggestion of an overarching federal authority, on the lines of US department of homeland security.
It will tackle all aspects of the country's internal security, including narcotics trade, counterfeiting notes and money laundering, which are linked to funding of terror activities.
The state has also agreed that a panel of interlocutors be set up to initiate dialogue with Naxal leadership to address this complex internal security issue.
The state's report on the suggestions of the panel, headed by former chief justice MM Punchhi, is likely to be discussed in the next cabinet meeting. After the cabinet's nod, it will be submitted to the interstate council led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The state government is also in favour of suo motu deployment of central forces in cases of rioting, as long as the state's consent is taken soon afterwards, and amending Articles 355 and 356 to enable localised governor's rule in specific areas for a limited period of time.
The state has aggressively backed a time limit for getting the President's nod for state legislations. Nearly 10 state legislations are pending President's go-ahead for the last two years, including the Maharashtra Money Lending Regulation Act that envisages penalising rogue money lenders and putting a cap on interest charges to protect farmers.
The state in its report has pointed out that a time limit of around four months should be set for response from the Centre.
The state has called for a greater devolution of finances from the Centre and routing of funds for central schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan through the state, instead of directly to nodal authorities.
"We want more direct finances from Centre by way of sharing taxes and grants. The state should have greater control over central scheme funds. How else can we support a major development budget," said a senior official.