Union home secretary Anil Goswami is learnt to have met Narendra Modi at Gujarat Bhawan on Monday to brief the Prime Minister-elect about the immediate issues concerning internal security. Goswami is among the first senior bureaucrats to have met Modi, in what was termed a courtesy call.
Known for giving bureaucrats the freedom and mandate to work instead of retaining them as file pushers, Modi has a clear and tough take on internal security issues, glimpse of which he gave during a number of meetings on internal security he attended as chief minister during the UPA government's tenure.
Getting the whiff of a regime change at the Centre much ahead of the poll results, the home ministry bureaucrats had also tweaked their plans and policies keeping a Modi government in mind. Ministry officials in-charge of various divisions did so when they were told by cabinet secretary Ajit Seth about three months ago to prepare plans for the next government.
The bureaucrats' general view was that work that had taken a backseat during the last phase of the Congress-led UPA II government, especially under home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, should get priority under the new regime. Accordingly, many divisions tweaked their general outplay plans and policies by introducing aspects that would gel with the thinking of the new regime and their own goals or aims.
One of the key divisions, the anti-Naxal division, for example, has put more emphasis on the security approach and enlisted three specific priorities in its plan that can help tackle the Maoists effectively. It has asked for deputing its choice of District Magistrate (DM) and Superintendent of Police (SP) in 20 worst Naxal-affected districts. Second, it wants to have Inspector General (operations) of its choice at the zonal level in Naxal-affected areas and let him or her be under the direct control of the Union home ministry. And finally, it wants 25 additional combat ready battalions (25,000 personnel) of central armed police forces (CAPFs) in addition to the already 72-odd battalions.
Sources said the security-centric approach that had made much headway against the Maoists during Chidambaram's tenure as home minister took a backseat when Shinde replaced him, thus giving Maoists breathing space to regain strength.
"You can say that the ministry is hoping to see more of Chidambaram type, business approach in the new government and has prepared accordingly," said a senior official. The ministry's assertion comes in the light of the recent arrest of Delhi University professor, GN Saibaba, who was being watched constantly by the ministry for a long time.
The other important divisions of the North-East and foreigners have brought in the Bangladeshi nationals issue as priority areas in their respective plans. In the internal security division, the emphasis has been put on reviving anti-terror cells and intelligence gathering systems in a big way.