- Recently, the Union home minister inaugurated the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) campus in Bengaluru.
- It is an attached office of the Ministry of Home Affairs that has been created as an IT platform to assist the intelligence and law enforcement agencies in ensuring national and internal security, with the ultimate aim of counter-terror.
- It has been envisaged as a robust mechanism to track suspects and prevent terrorist attacks with real-time data and access to classified information like immigration, banking, individual taxpayers, and air and train travel.
- It links intelligence and investigation agencies and is exempted from the Right to Information Act, 2005 under sub-section (2) of Section 24.
- Need & Origin:
- The project initially started in 2009 after the Mumbai terrorist attack with a budget of 2,800 crores.
- The 26/11 terrorist siege in Mumbai back in 2008 exposed the deficiency that security agencies had no mechanism to look for vital information on a real-time basis.
- C-DAC Pune has been roped in as Technology Partner and IIT, Bhilai as Plan Management Consultant for the development of the NATGRID solution.
- It will be a medium for 11 Central agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) to access data on a secured platform. The data will be procured by NATGRID from 21 providing organisations such as the telecom, tax records, bank, immigration etc.
- NATGRID is facing opposition on charges of possible violations of privacy and leakage of confidential personal information.
- Digital databases such as NATGRID can be misused.
- Its efficacy in preventing terror has also been questioned given that no state agency or police force has access to its database thus reducing the chances of immediate, effective action.
- Over the last two decades, the very digital tools that terrorists use have also become great weapons to fight the ideologies of violence.
- Intelligence agencies have also opposed it amid fears that it would impinge on their territory and possibly result in leaks of the leads they were working on to other agencies.