NATGRID can access PAN, I-T records

27/6/2017 367 Security Issues | Internal Security | View Recent Current Affairs

  • The Centre has empowered the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), the integrated mechanism to keep track of security-related data, to access the Income Tax department’s records on individual taxpayers as well as PAN card holders.

About NATGRID

  • It was conceived in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
  • The grid was to provide an intelligence database that would have networked 21 sets of data sources to provide quick and secure access of information to about 10 intelligence and law-enforcement agencies including the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and R&AW.
  • These data sources include records related to immigration entry and exit, banking and financial transactions.
  • NATGRID is being implemented in four phases; the first two of which will be operationalised by 2014 at a cost of Rs 1,200 crores and the first data sets will be retrievable by early 2013.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Security approved the first two phases in 2011.
  • The implementation of the third and fourth phases are expected to require amendments to several laws to allow for the sharing and transfer of data on items such as property and bank transaction details and internet usage.
  • Unlike the NCTC and the NIA which are central organisations, the NATGRID is essentially a tool that enables security agencies to locate and obtain relevant information on terror suspects from pooled data of various organisations and services in the country

Analysis(On NATGRID)

  • NATGRID is essentially a tool that enables security agencies to locate and obtain relevant information on terror suspects from pooled data of various organisations and services in the country.
  • It will help identify, capture and prosecute terrorists and help preempt terrorist plots.
  • NATGRID is only the technical interface for intelligence agencies and not an organization in itself. If the agency initiating the inquiry is not authorized to get that information, it cannot get it.
  • 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 others.
  • It 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, but 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.
  • But on the other side, possible violations of privacy and leakage of confidential personal information can be happened. The Snowden files are just one pointer to the widespread misuse in recent years of surveillance capabilities to compromise individual privacy and even violate national sovereignty
  • No state agency or police force has access to its database thus reducing chances of immediate, effective action.
  • NATGRID claims to be protected by several structural and procedural safeguards and oversight mechanisms including that of external audits and technology safeguards.

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