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On first day, Home minister Amit Shah takes stock of state affairs

First-time cabinet minister Amit Shah took charge of the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) on Saturday afternoon, after which he met senior officials and sat through an extended briefing session.

Officials in each of the 19 divisions under the ministry briefed Shah, who continues to be Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president, about projects and schemes being piloted and supervised by them. Some of these divisions are internal security, counter-terror and counter-radicalization, disaster management, freedom fighters’ pension, and the Jammu & Kashmir wing. “The minister patiently heard the briefs. He did ask for some clarifications,” a senior official said on condition of anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to the media. “Specific briefings on particular topics will start from Monday,” he added.

A stream of governors and senior BJP functionaries called on Shah on his first day at the ministry. Kerala governor Palanisamy Sathasivam was among the first to do so. Jammu & Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik, too, called on him. “I have briefed the home minister on the ground situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” Malik later told reporters. “We have not discussed anything about the [Jammu & Kashmir] elections, it is for the Election Commission of India [to decide].”

Jammu & Kashmir has been without an elected government since June 2018 when the BJP ended its three-year alliance with Mehbooba Mufti’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Shah’s ministry will also be overseeing security arrangements for the Amarnath Yatra, which is scheduled to begin June end. The threat quotient for the Yatra remains high, though security agencies have eliminated about 100 militants since the beginning of this year, according to the Multi-Agency Centre.

Among others who called on Shah are Maharashtra governor C Vidyasagar Rao, Puducherry governor Kiran Bedi, and Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat. Shah, who is the 30th home minister of the country, reached South Block in the afternoon. Union home secretary Rajiv Guba and Intelligence Bureau director Rajiv Jain received him.

G Kishan Reddy and Nityanand Rai took over as ministers of state for home affairs too.

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