Natgrid and its benefits

There was a dire need for a full fledged terror data base in India and going by Monday’s meeting chaired by the Prime Minister, it appears that the much awaited National Intelligence Grid or Natgrid is underway.
The idea of setting up Natgrid would be to merge all databases of individuals into one which could be accessed by various agencies. The issue in India was there was no proper data base of every individual and more often than not after every terror strike, we have found our agencies to be groping in the dark.
While this would help a great deal in combating terrorism emerging out of India soil, it would be hard to say whether it would have it effects on terrorists coming in from other countries. The Intelligence Bureau points out that it is essential that we deal with home grown terror first since these are the people who ultimately end up facilitating those who come from outside.
In India there are 1000s of terror cells and modules which a to operate. There is absolutely no data base on most of these persons and this in turn helps these cadres operate with ease. In India the agencies tend to build up a data base after an attack is over. This has only ensured that the terrorists have got more time to slip out and we have seen several times in the past that once a person manages to slip out, we never get him back.
Security agencies point out that although India does have a capable policing wing across all states they remain handicapped for the want of data. Take for instance if a terrorist of Gujarat origin is nabbed in Rajasthan, then the police teams of both states will need to coordinate. In the past we have seen due to lack of coordination and most of the time ego clashes between the police departments of both states information is not shared. With Natgrid, this issue would be solved and the respective departments could access the data base without having to coordinate with each other. In short terrorism would not be a subject matter of one state alone and this data base would be national property without any jurisdiction, security experts also say.
Under this set up, police officials would have to feed information about each person to this data base. This would include credit card details, residential proof, immigration details and all other transactions regarding a person. Natgrid would not only comprise information about people under the scanner. It would have data of every citizen of India. Apart from the above mentioned details, the data base on a person will also comprise information about a person’s bank accounts, finger prints, property details, telephone details and education details.
An official in the IB says that the police will have a big role to play to ensure that this data is in place. The police not only have to feed in the first bit of the data, but there is a need to keep updating the data. Hence there is a lot of manual work load on the police and they cannot afford to slip up. In addition to this the Intelligence Bureau too would keep providing its inputs which again needs to be updated. It will be a continous effort for the police and all other agencies and in case they slip up then we will be back to square one.
Hence when there is an issue with a particular person, the police would have access to that person at the click of a button. Prior to this, the police of a particular state had to call his colleague in another state and after a lot of bureaucratic procedures, the data was shared. This procedure normally took anything between a week or two, which in turn gave time for the person in question to slip out.
Natgrid would also help the police and the Intelligence Bureau keep a tab on persons with suspicious backgrounds. The police would have access to all his data and any movement by this person would also be tracked with the help of this data base.
The international terrorists: While this would take care of the home grown problem the issue with regard to international terrorists also needs to be sorted out. Senior police officials say that in case of those terrorists who have slipped out of the country, there is a need to interact with the police of the particular country and also the Interpol and update the data. This would have to be done on a regular basis so that the police can keep a tab on such persons who try and enter into the country.
There will be a training programme for all police personnel across the country on how to feed data into the server. They would also be told on what is to be fed since data fed should not lead to any sort of confusion during investigation. Home Ministry officials say that it is necessary that the right data is fed since they do not want any problems for ordinary citizens due to wrong data pulling up.


Author: Vicky Nanjappa

just a reporter

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