NCTC has serious flaws: Nitish Kumar

Nitish Kumar on Wednesday asked the Centre to seek Parliament`s nod through a wider debate for creating NCTC.

Last Updated: Jun 05, 2013, 15:38 PM IST

New Delhi: Holding that the revised draft order on NCTC suffers from several "serious flaws" and "arbitrary" provisions, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday asked the Centre to seek Parliament`s nod through a wider debate for creating the federal anti-terror agency.

Kumar, who heads a JDU-BJP alliance government in Bihar, also demanded a change in the criteria for implementing Integrated Action Plan in Left Wing Extremist (LWE) affected districts by making it Pancahyat-oriented.

Noting that he along with several other Chief Ministers last year had expressed serious apprehensions about the structure, powers and functions of the proposed NCTC, he said that the draft of the revised order on NCTC still suffers from serious flaws.

"Firstly what is the use of creating an operation division within NCTC and giving powers of conducting such operations, if such operations are to be conducted either through or in conjunction with state police.

"This will create operational problems as it is not clear, which of two organisations will have the leading role and control over such operations. Secondly, the draft report still retains the absolute and arbitrary provision regarding mandate to civil authtorities within the states," he said.

Speaking at the conference of Chief Ministers on Internal Security here, Kumar said new NCTC has been proposed even though there is NIA to discharge similar functions.

"The better option would be to strengthen and develop NIA than to create another organisation. Finally, on perusal it appears that Unalwful Activities (Prevention) Act has been kept in perspective while formulating the basic provisions of the new NCTC...When the UAPA is available, its objectives should be made through a motion of law," he said.

Noting that the instrumentality of an executive order cannot be over-stretched beyond the scope of the already existent law, he said, "If the Centre still considers it expedient to form an organisation like NCTC, then it should be done through legislation in Parliament which will ensure a wider debate over the subject."

Asked whether his ministry will push for reservation for Dalit Muslims and Christians, Khan said it will require a Constitutional amendment for which Government should have two third majority in both Houses.

"Everyone knows, we do not have two thirds of majority," he said.

Khan also rejected the contention that the National Commission for Scheduled Castes has given its nod for Dalit Muslim and Dalit Christian reservation, saying they have done with the rider that existing SC/ST quota should not be affected and the government should increase the overall quota of SC/ST if it goes that move.

"That`s a complex exercise. This is not possible under present directions of the Supreme Court for not exceeding the reservation beyond 50 percent," he noted.

Hailing the modifications in the Multi Sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) criteria, Khan said in order to correct the anomalies in the implementation of the scheme and keep a watch on it, the central government is employing one faciliator at all the 710 identified minority concentrated blocks (MCBs), who will be paid honorariums by the Centre.

He said the programme is also being revamped to avoid duplication of schemes by various ministries, which was happening so far and the major thrust of the MsDP in the 12th plan will be "education, skill development and health". The ministry will also help the states in creation and management of Primary Health Centres in these MCBs.

He also said that the ministry will urge the government to bring the cut off mark for declaring an area minority concentrated from 25 percent minority population to 15 percent during the mid-term appraisal of the 12th Plan.

Khan also announced setting up of national helpline from June 25 for redressing the grievances of minorities, which will initially be operational for 12 hours but will be made 24x7 soon.

On suggestions that minorities are angry with the Congress, he said, "We will try to assuage that".

The minister said the government is working towards making the pre-matric scholarship scheme demand driven and is also toying up with the idea of making it hundred percent central scheme.

Currently, states have to give 25 percent of the total scholarship expenditure under the scheme with the Centre providing 75 percent.

Khan also said that a new legislation to declar wakf properties as public premises is on the anvil to check their unauthorised occupation but refused to give a timeline on it.

He said such an act was necessitated as there was no uniformity in the status of Wakf properties with some states not declaring them as public premises while few others have already done so.

On the issue of five minority universities to be set up, Khan said the Thorat Committee that looked into the issue has given its report and a Cabinet note is being prepared in consultation with the Law Ministry.

He also said that the government will soon set up an Equal Opportunity Commission but with its mandate limited to minorities as decided by the GoM headed by AK Antony.

On the dispute surrounding Delhi Karbala, he said the demand of the locals for withdrawal of FIRs against them is being considered and he has already held consultations with Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in this regard.