Monday, June 08, 2009

PC defines deputies' roles

Anil Anand

Monday, June 8, 2009 2:32 IST Email

New Delhi: The fight against left-wing extremism will be a top priority in the 100-day plan of action being drawn by the home ministry, in view of reports that ultra-left insurgent organisations are inching towards northern India. The other area of concern will be coastal security.

Keeping in view the serious challenge to the country's internal security on these fronts, home minister P Chidambaram has in the distribution of work between deputies, allocated matters related to left-wing extremism to minister of state Ajay Maken. Charge of coastal security has been given to the deputy hailing from Kerala, Mullappally Ramachandaran.

The criterion adopted for distribution of work between Maken and Ramachandaran was reportedly on the basis of areas of expertise, the region they belong to and administrative experience in government or legislature. Maken was chosen to handle naxal violence as he had been politically handling (as All India Congress Committee in-charge) some affected states like Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar. Being a successful minister in Delhi also stood him in good stead.

Maken's stint as speaker in Delhi seemed to have given him the edge in the matter of allocation of parliamentary work. He will handle replies to starred and unstarred Parliament questions pertaining to centre-state division, internal security division I, Jammu & Kashmir, naxal violence and the police division. Ramachandaran has been assigned parliamentary work related to border and disaster management, and north-east divisions.

Maken will also look after national integration and communal harmony. In the home ministry's new charter, maintaining communal harmony has been given top billing as it is felt that for the fight against terrorism to succeed, communal harmony is a must.

Home ministry sources pointed out that Ramachandaran has been allocated coastal security and border management as it required better coordination with the army and navy. He enjoys a good rapport with defence minister AK Antony as both belong to Kerala and are upright.

Chidambaram will look after most key areas pertaining to internal security and constitutional matters. These include counter-terrorism measures, constitutional matters and international developments related to J&K, and initiation of political processes in the troubled state, VIP security and matters related to the Pakistan-Inter Services Intelligence role and activities in India.

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