Raghu Raman, a security expert in the private sector, will oversee the setting up of the National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid) over the next two years.
Raman — the chief executive officer of corporate risk consulting firm Mahindra Special Services Group — is the first private sector professional to be inducted in the security establishment. IT czar Nandan Nilekani and Sam Pitroda, who brought about the telecom revolution, were inducted earlier with the rank of a central minister.
Raman served the armed forces for 11 years. He was stationed at Siachen Glacier and in Punjab before joining the Mahindra & Mahindra Group. He also writes a column for Mint, the business daily brought out by HT Media.
The Natgrid, which will link data available with different agencies like bank accounts, rail and air travel, income tax and phone calls, was high on Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s agenda of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the security establishment.
But the minister made it clear that the damage to the police leadership during the NDA government’s tenure wouldn’t be as easy to undo.
He slammed the NDA regime for “grave neglect” in the recruitment of Indian Police Service (IPS) officers, saying the government would take 11 years to bridge shortage of IPS officers.
Citing the findings of committee on Recruitment Plan (2009-2020) for the IPS, which submitted its report on October 15, the home minister told mediapersons on Friday that only 36 candidates were recruited as against the required number of 85 every year.
It had led to a shortfall of 49 candidates a year or a total shortfall of 196 candidates.
Chidambaram said the report has recommended that the annual recruitment between 2009-10 and 2019-20 be fixed at 130 and that a limited competitive examination may also be conducted for seven years to recruit an additional 448 candidates.
“I think the damage can be undone only in the next 11 years. The report is being processed expeditiously and placed before the competent authority for appropriate decisions,” he said.
On peace talks in Jammu and Kashmir, the minister said the Centre wanted to hold “quiet talks”, “quiet diplomacy” with Kashmiri separatist groups.
Responding to a question on the Naxal problem, he said, the Centre would persuade the state governments to talk to Maoists if they stop violence. “I regret to say that the response has so far been disappointing.”
On the issue of laying down arms, the minister said: “We never said lay down the arms... We said halt the violence and talk... If they halt violence, the Centre will persuade the state governments to talk to them on issues like land reforms, land acquisitions.”