Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee stated that the government was ready to “empower” the Home Ministry to use air support for police action against Naxalites provided adequate safeguards were in place against any misuse of such powers.
Speaking at the Idea Exchange programme of The Indian Express, Mukherjee said the Cabinet fully backed the efforts of Home Minister P Chidambaram in fighting Naxalite groups and was mindful of the fact that the Home Ministry needed to be empowered with whatever was needed to win the battle.
“Power is required. Whatever the Home Minister feels necessary, he should be empowered with that,” Mukherjee said.
“But if we want to establish an institutional arrangement to deal with it, then we will have to look at what will be the implications of it, what will be the further impact on it (the fight against Naxalites) and whether it can be properly used or if there is any scope for misuse,” he said, responding to queries whether Chidambaram’s request for a “larger mandate” for the Home Ministry would be acceded.