National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC)

17/10/2016 488 Security Issues | Internal Security | View Recent Current Affairs

  •  The Centre is planning to revive the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).
  • After the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack that the then Home Minister suggested setting up of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), on the lines of the one in the United States and the British Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, for coordinated counter-terror operations.

About NCTC:

  • Its aim will be to collect, analyze and disseminate intelligence data, coordinate between various national and state counter terrorism bodies, to plan and carry out counter terrorist operations. It can search, seize property, arrest, demand information from any other agency while carrying out its tasks. The legal basis for its powers is UAPA provision where the central government can permit an officer to make arrest etc. if he has got a "reason to believe" that a person committed an unlawful activity.


  • Currently India has RAW, IB, NTRO, Defence Research Agency and Aviation Research Centre etc. working on terrorism. There is no coordination between them.
  • NCTC is unavoidable because, at present, the Union Government cannot deploy its military and para-military forces suomotu to deal with internal security problems in the States and often the States are unwilling to accept these Central forces due to dubious political compulsions.
  • State police forces are not professional and lack capabilities to deal with terror. State forces are also used to serve political ends. Unfortunately, the record of the Union Government is equally questionable.
  • But unlike the American NCTC which deals only with planning and integration of intelligence without any operational involvement, the Indian agency will have not only intelligence functions but also powers to conduct operations. It is this concentration of powers that has had the states objecting to the NCTC .
  • Current agencies are not willing to submit their autonomy. Different agencies also report to different ministries which are not willing to part with them.
  • NCTC is also an arm of IB which doesn't have arrest / search powers right now. But NCTC has been given such powers.
  • Being an IB wing, there is a likelihood of these powers being misused for political gains. Also with such powers, IB would be busy defending its arrests in courts and this would compromise its efficacy.
  • NCTC would also get embroiled in IB’s running battle with the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), which is responsible for external intelligence. Terrorism has both international and national aspects; hence, the NCTC must be separated from the IB to maintain equidistance from the IB and the R&AW.
  • Instead of NCTC, the law and order machinery in the States should be fully assisted by the Centre with equipment, technology and training. This would be more relevant to meeting the threat since they have local knowledge of the terrain, language and culture.
  • Inadequate consultations with the states and a top-heavy attitude of the central government is what brought about its downfall. It tried to put it under IB, outside parliamentary oversight. It also was trying to create NCTC via an executive order and not a legislation.


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