The 26/11 attacks on Mumbai led to the exposure of several weaknesses in India’s
intelligence gathering and action networks. NATGRID is part of the radical overhaul of the security and intelligence paraphernalia of India that was mooted by the then Home Minister P. Chidambaram in 2009. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) are two organisations established in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks of 2008. Before the Mumbai attacks, a Pakistani origin American Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative David Coleman Headley had visited India several times and done a recce of the places that came under attack on 26/11. Despite having travelled to India several times and having returned to the US through Pakistan or West Asia, his trips failed to raise the suspicion of Indian agencies as they lacked a system that could reveal a pattern in his unusual travel itineraries and trips to the country. It is argued that had a system like the NATGRID been in place, Headley would have been apprehended well before the attacks. NATGRID is being implemented in four different phases. United Progressive Alliance (UPA) the government gave clearance of ₹3,400 crores for the project. But its work slowed down after 2012. Later, Modi, who came to power for the first time in 2014, issued directions for its revival.

The National Intelligence Grid or NATGRID Ashish Gupta, IPS, Chief Executive Officer, Unlike the NCTC or the NIA which are central agencies, the NATGRID is essentially a tool that enables security agencies to locate and obtain relevant information on terror suspects from pooled data sets of various organizations and services in the country. It will help identify, capture and prosecute terrorists and help pre-empt terror plots.

In the first phase, 10 user agencies and 21 service providers will be connected with the NATGRID while in later phases about 950 additional organisations will be brought on board, as per a PTI report. In the following years, more than 1,000 organisations will be further integrated into the NATGRID. These data sources include records related to immigration entry and exit, banking and financial transactions and telecommunications.

As per a recent order, the Income Tax Department will share PAN and bank account details of any entity with 10 investigative and intelligence agencies under NATGRID. The Central Board of Direct Taxes, which frames policy for the I-T Department, said in a July 21 order that information like a permanent account number (PAN), Tax Deduction and Collection Account Number (TAN), bank account details, a summary of IT Returns and tax deducted at source (TDS) and “any other information as mutually agreed” will be shared with the 10 agencies. The CBDT and the NATGRID will sign a Memorandum of Understanding to finalise the latest information-sharing mechanism, it said.

NATGRID database will be available to prominent federal agencies including, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Enforcement Directorate (ED), Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, Central Board of Direct Taxes (for Income Tax Department) (CBDT), Cabinet Secretariat, Intelligence Bureau (IB), Directorate General of GST Intelligence, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Financial Intelligence Unit and the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

The data recovery centre of the NATGRID has been constructed in Bengaluru and its headquarters is nearing completion in Delhi.

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Many halted projects of previous government is being executed swiftly by this government।। Kudos to its willpower.

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