Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Current Affairs

Expert Committee Constituted to examine Rules on Movement of People Near Indo-Myanmar Border

Ministry of Home Affairs has constituted an expert committee to examine the rules which allow free movement of people near Indo-Myanmar border. Indian and Myanmarese citizens are permitted free movement within 16 km of the international border, but these rules are widely exploited by militants for smuggling arms, drugs, and fake Indian currency.

The decision to constitute an MHA panel was taken at a meeting of chief ministers of the northeastern states which share a border with Myanmar. This is for the first time that meeting with the state governments has been called to discuss the issues concerning the Myanmar border. The meeting was attended by Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and chief ministers of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram, and the Home Minister of Nagaland.

Salient Highlights

The expert committee would be headed by the special secretary (Internal Security) in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The panel will examine the rules and regulations adopted by the border states for free movement of the people. It has to suggest for uniform and effective implementation of free movement regime in the states which share a porous border with Myanmar

The committee has to come up with standard operating procedures common to all the four states that will provide effective measures to filter out militants, criminals and contraband at the border without causing inconvenience to genuine people.

The panel has to submit its report within three months. 

Background

India shares 1,643-km long border with Myanmar that passes through four states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. At present, both Indian and Myanmarese citizens are permitted a visa-free movement regime within 16 km on either side of the border. They are permitted to stay up to 72 hours with valid permits. These rules were kept in place in view of the traditional and social ties among the border people. There are over 240 villages with an estimated population of 2.5 lakh people living within 10 km of the border. However, India’s international border with Myanmar is very porous with cross-border movement of insurgents and smuggling of arms and ammunition being very common.

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Home Ministry asks NGOs to open Bank Accounts in Core Banking format

The Home Ministry has instructed 5,845 NGOs to open their accounts in banks having core banking facilities. The NGOs are also required to furnish the account details for real time access of security agencies in case of any discrepancy. The move is aimed at checking “errant” NGOs especially those organizations receiving foreign funding.

The Home Ministry has mandated the NGOs registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act to have their accounts in either nationalised banks or in a few private banks that has core banking facilities.  Around 3,768 NGOs have been told that their accounts in banks does not have core banking facilities. Another 2,077 NGOs have been instructed to furnish their bank accounts details as such details are not available with the home ministry.

The significance of the move is that the core banking system with all of the branches of the networked banks interconnected would allow the security agencies to access the accounts of the NGOs on real time basis.

Background

The government has taken a slew of measures to regulate the NGOs especially those receiving foreign funding. As a part of the measures, registration of more than 10,000 NGOs were suspended for non filing of annual returns as per the FCRA. And more than 1,300 were denied renewal over the past three years owing to various violations committed by these NGOs. In 2016, government had directed around 11,000 NGOs to file applications for renewal before February 28, 2017. Out of 11,000, only 3,500 NGOs had filed applications for renewal before the expiry date. As a result of all the above measures, there are only 24,000 active NGOs as against 40,000 in 2014-15.

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