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MHA asks states to gear up, revamp intelligence

January 12, 2009 17:49 IST

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The Home Ministry has asked a special committee, set up earlier to come out with measures to strengthen local intelligence gathering units, to pull up its belt and act fast.

According to senior Home Ministry sources, the move comes following the Ministry's plan to modernise police forces to tackle future terror incidents by strengthening local intelligence gathering units, in the wake of Mumbai terror attack.

The committee for strengthening the Special Branches of police forces, was constituted by former Home Minister Shivraj Patil [Images] and included Directors General of Police of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh [Images], Assam and Delhi [Images] Police Commissioner and senior IB officials.

It has now been asked to speed up its work of suggesting measures to revamp the intelligence units of state police forces.

Sources said the Committee, which is coordinating with the Intelligence Bureau, has been asked to submit a complete and actionable report as soon as possible.

The Centre has recently advised all states to speed up their efforts to modernise and enhance Special Branches of police forces.

"There is a focused scheme for strengthening the Special Branches of the state police forces and ensuring their systematic structuring, which is now lacking. The central government is providing all help to the states in this regard," they said.

The Special Branch in police forces work as local intelligence gathering agency to counter incidents like terror attacks, communal riots, counter-insurgency operations and work in coordination with Intelligence Bureau to avoid untoward incidents.

The Special Branch also assists local police in Passport and Employment verification at some states.

According to the official, the special branch at various states like Madhya Pradesh [Images], Orissa, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, along with some north eastern states are somewhat lacking in their modernisation work.
"Some of the branches are running short of specialised staff and necessary equipment. We have asked state governments to overcome their shortcomings," the sources said.

The government has advised state governments to form and sanction a dedicated fund (up to 5 per cent of their annual allocation) under Modernisation of Police Forces scheme for strengthening of Special Branches.

"All state governments have been asked to submit their action plan and action taken report in this regard. Most of the Naxal-affected states have submitted their plans. The central government has also released funds based on their approved Action Plans," they said.

The states have also been advised to utilise services of retired Army, IB and police force personnel.

"We have advised state governments to hire retired policemen and other professionals to strengthen the intelligence gathering mechanism," a senior ministry official said.

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