Thursday, June 29, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

States resist federal agency plan
Tribune News Service
and UNI

NEW DELHI, June 28 — The Centre’s ambitious plan to create a Federal Law Enforcement Agency (FLEA) to tackle such crimes was resisted by most states as an encroachment upon a state subject although they agreed to consider it owing to the changing security scenario.

At the end of the day-long meeting of the Chief Secretaries, Home Secretaries and DGPs with the Union Home Ministry on Internal Security, the states agreed to respond to the Centre’s suggestion on FLEA and interact with a committee of which the Union Home Secretary would be the convener.

Briefing correspondents, the Home Secretary, Mr Kamal Pande, said the suggestion for creation of FLEA was because it was felt that the states were not equipped to deal with new crimes like cyber crimes, terrorist acts and extortion and suggestion on the need for such a specialised agency came up even from the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

Most states resisted the idea as law and order is a state subject under the Constitution and instead suggested that the Centre could reinforce the existing central agencies like the CBI.

“Yet, when we held a detailed presentation on the internal security situation in the country and the need such an agency, we found the states were more receptive’’ he said adding that the Centre reminded that it was the right time to setup such an agency now and that the situation may not be conducive much later.

Yet as a senior official of the Ministry said the idea was to broach the topic today to enable the states discuss the issue before the meeting of the Chief Ministers on Internal Security on August 5, which will be chaired by the Prime Minister.

On other issues, Mr Pande said there was a general consensus on the need to have an anti-terrorist law. The draft of the Prevention of Terrorism Bill prepared by the Law Commission has been circulated to the States whose comments were expected by the end of this month.

The States, he said, also felt that amendments to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act to check access of anti-national elements to foreign contribution were necessary and welcomed the proposed amendment which empowers the District Collectors to be involved in the implementation of the Act.

While there was some reservation on the proposal for a multi-purpose National Identity Card to all Indian citizens, it was felt the idea would have to be examined carefully considering the complexities involved and size of expenditure involved before a final decision to implement was taken.

The Home Secretary said the Centre expects to get the report of the consultancy service hired by it to submit a feasibility report on the project by August this year.

The need for an efficient border management with active involvement of the states was stressed at the meeting and it was felt that developmental activities in border areas should be geared up.

The issue of strengthening and modernising of the state police force was also discussed and states urged increased allocation for the purpose.

Earlier, the Home Minister Mr L.K. Advani, today did not rule out the possibility of involvement of anti-India elements in the recent attacks against Christians in various parts of the country and stressed upon the necessity of thorough investigations into the incidents.

Inaugurating the meeting of chief secretaries, home secretaries and directors general of police of different states on internal security the Home Minister said that while the Centre would also conduct investigations, it was mainly the responsibility of the state governments to investigate.

“These incidents do not appear to be emanating from any tension between the two communities as the sequence of these incidents indicates. The possibility of anti-India elements trying to create disaffection in society and give the country a bad name cannot be ruled out.’’

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