India's first dedicated body to prevent terrorist strikes, the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), will become operational from March 1, with powers to "control and coordinate" all counter-terrorism measures in the country.
Incidentally, a select team of officers at the NCTC have also been given powers to search any premises and arrest suspects to prevent an attack or any violation of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The Intelligence Bureau—also constituted by an executive order—does not have the powers of arrest and is, in theory, dependent on state police to arrest suspects. Government sources said the powers of arrest, invoked under UAPA, were intended to be exercised in extraordinary circumstances.
The NCTC will also have the power to requisition commandos of any special forces, including the NSG and can seek information from any agency.
To be headed by an additional director of the IB, the NCTC will have officers on deputation from 11 other security organisations, including the external spy agency Research & Analysis Wing (RAW), customs, income tax and the military intelligence.
The eight-point charter of duties of the NCTC includes preparing threat assessment reviews, prescribing priorities for stakeholders and maintaining a database of terrorists. The NCTC director will head a council that will have state anti-terror unit chiefs as members to ensure the centre "is the single and effective point of control and coordination of all counter terrorism measures," the home ministry order said.