Challenges galore for new home minister

Published On: February 27, 2018 06:44 AM NPT

KATHMANDU, Feb 27: Although  senior leader of Maoist Center Ram Bahadur Thapa successfully mobilized the party’s armed wing during the Maoist insurgency, the   Home Ministry portfolio he assumed on Monday is not going to be any cakewalk . The two main challenges before him include restructuring the existing police apparatus in the federal setup and ensuring effective coordination between provincial governments and the government at the center in security matters .

While the restructuring process for the bureaucracy has already begun, nothing tangible has been done so far  in terms of restructuring the police organization other than deputing DIGs to each of the seven provinces . As the provincial governments have already begun staking claims to mobilization of police personnel in their respective provinces, it is equally important how he  ensures coordination between provincial governments and the center to maintain internal security. 

While the new constitution envisions keeping the APF and NID with the federal government, each province will have a separate police organization, with the federal police responsible for overall security in the country. There is still no clear blueprint what the federal and provincial police organizations will look like. Also, there are concerns that recruitment of huge numbers of personnel  for provincial police could mean  a huge financial burden for the already ailing economy. 

Ensuring coordination among all three security agencies -- Nepal Police, APF and NID- under the Home Ministry and bolster security  is no small challenge for Minister Thapa. There is confusion among police officers how much information to share with federal authorities and how much with the provincial governments. It is still not clear how  the APF shall be mobilized in the coming days. 

The Home Ministry has so far overseen the law and order issues all across the country through the chief district officers (CDOs) . But there is no clarity as to whom the CDOs should be accountable to -- provincial government or federal . Minister Thapa needs to  formulate a new Act that will replace the Local Administration Act .  

Thapa, who previously served as defense minister under Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal back in 2008, had courted controversy after he allegedly incited Dahal to sack  then army chief Rookmangud Katawal. Winning the trust of all three security bodies under the Home Ministry and mobilizing them harmoniously looks like an equally important challenge now before him . 

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