While the minister, who ranks second in the Cabinet, appeared unruffled by the MP’s remark, elated Congress members were seen welcoming his intervention.
In the course of a discussion following a question by NCP’s Supriya Sule, Congress floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge said that the Union government had discontinued a housing scheme under which the Centre provided 75 per cent of the money for police modernisation, equipment and housing against 25 per cent by the states.
To this, Rajnath Singh said, “I want to give this information to the honourable member that it is not (correct) that state governments run any programme for housing out of the funds meant for police modernisation.” Kharge persisted: “You ask your predecessors. (L K) Advani sahib is sitting here. He gave money under food-for-work.” Rajnath Singh argued: “(The money) is not given for housing alone. It is possible state governments may be utilising it, but police modernisation fund is not allocated for this purpose.”
R K Singh then got up and said, “Let me clarify one fact. Housing was a component in the police modernisation scheme under which the central government gave funds and the state government also gave funds. Perhaps this has been discontinued by the central government because the shares of taxes given by the Centre to the states have been increased. State governments have been told to do this (take care of housing) from their allocation. But earlier, housing was an important component of the police modernisation scheme. I urge the Home Minister to revive the police modernisation scheme and talk to the Finance Ministry.”
MoS for Home Kiren Rijiju, to a question from Jyotiraditya Scindia of the Congress, said that Ramdev’s food park at Haridwar had been provided security on the basis of a threat perception and not as a favour. He said that 11,000 private institutions were given security and Ramdev’s food park was among 35 places that had been covered with the “smallest deployment” of the CISF.