The Ministry of Home Affairs is the sanctum of the Government of India so to say being responsible for internal security of the country.
Maintenance of internal security is no doubt the direct concern of the State governments under the Constitution, ‘police’ and ‘public order’ being the top figuring items in the state list of the Constitution. Yet, the Government of India cannot keep itself uninvolved in and unconcerned with the matters of internal security.
The Ministry of Home Affairs oversees developments on the field and advises and guides them. It also keeps a watch on the administration in the states to ensure that it is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. This ministry, in short, administers the President’s rule visualized in Article 356 of the Constitution.
The Ministry of Home Affairs deals with central-state relations including inter-state matters. This ministry administers the Indian Police Service, which is a prestigious, all-India service commonly shared between the two levels of the Union. It also administers the various para-military forces like the Central Reserve Police Force, the Assam Rifles, the Border Security Force, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the Central Industrial Security Force and the National Security Guard. The Ministry of Home Affairs is the residuary legatee of the Government of India.
That item of business, which does not clearly fall in any ministry, is made the charge of this one. It looks after matters like citizenship and naturalization, census of population, national anthem, and national flag.
The Ministry of Home Affairs comprises the following five departments:
1. The Department of Internal Security
2. The Department of States
3. The Department of Official Languages
4. The Department of Home
5. The Department of Jammu and Kashmir Affairs
The Department of Internal Security deals with police, and law-order. The Department of States deals with Centre-State relations including inter-state relations.
The Department of Official Language handles the Constitutional matters relating to official language, Hindi. The Department of Home is concerned with the notification of assumption of office of by the President and Vice-President.
The Department of Jammu and Kashmir deals with all matters relating to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and is thus set up on the ‘area’ principle of departmentation. It is a new department having been created in November 1994. The Home Secretary is its secretary.
The Ministry has under it a number of organisations under its administration, the principal ones being the following:
1. Sardar Vallabhi Patel National Police Academy
2. National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science.
3. Bureau of Police Research and Development
4. National Crime Records Bureau
5. National Pre Service College
6. North Eastern Council
It is also common for the Ministry of Home Affairs to act as a nursery for a new item in its initial till it phase acquires a definite shape. It has acted as a foster ministry being mother to Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, to give a more recent example: this item was originally placed in the Ministry of Home Affairs where it remained until September 1985 when having become viable blossomed out a separate as Department of Welfare. The latest addition to the portfolio of the Home Ministry is the human rights spearheaded by the National Human Rights Commission.
The Department of Official Language has a separate secretary. The other three departments are functionally inter-linked which is underlined by all the three departments functioning under the Home Secretary.