Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to soon launch India’s much anticipated and advance IT solution NATGRID, designed for counter-terrorism post the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. The National Intelligence Grid or NATGRID aims to provide cutting-edge technology that will enhance the country’s terrorism capabilities.
Mooted by the then Home Minister P. Chidambaram in 2009, the 3,400 crore project got approval in 2011 but, started to witness slow pace developments due to allocation of funds. However, it was until 2016, the current NDA government recognized the need for NATGRID and framed advancements accordingly including the appointment of IB officer Ashok Patnaik as the CEO of the intelligence grid.
NATGRID is an integrated intelligence grid that connects databases of core security agencies of the country. Union Home Minister Amit Shah recently had indicated that NATGRID is conceptualized as a seamless and secure database for procuring information on terrorist, economic crimes, and other similar incidents. The much-awaited official launch of NATGRID is expected to finally see the light of day, Shah connoted.
What is NATGRID?
The ideation of having an integrated platform of security database was constructed by P. Chidambaram during the UPA regime. The NATGRID is believed to be a framework that will leverage Information Technology to connect with approved users, the security agencies with a view to enhancing and proactive the country’s counter-terrorism capabilities.
The platform envisages a robust mechanism to track suspects and prevent terrorist attacks with real-time data and access to classified information like immigration, banking, individual taxpayers, air and train travels. The need for a seamless and prompt security mechanism adhered after the dreaded 26/11 Mumbai terror attack that shook India paramountly. The attack revealed the lapse in the information mechanism on a real-time basis.
According to the first phase plan, 10 user agencies and 21 service providers will be connected with the NATGRID, while in later phases about 950 additional organizations will be brought on board. In the following years, more than 1,000 organizations will be integrated into NATGRID.
Federal agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs Central Board of Direct Taxes, Cabinet Secretariat, Intelligence Bureau, Directorate General of GST Intelligence, Narcotics Control Bureau, Financial Intelligence Unit and National Investigation Agency will be authorized to access the database from the NATGRID