After the establishment of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe terror cases, the home ministry on Monday got the Centre's in-principle approval for it's another show-case project — the National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid).
The law enforcement and intelligence agencies would be able to share information real time once the Natgrid becomes fully operational.
"On the direction of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), a detailed briefing and presentation about the Natgrid project along with safeguards and oversight mechanisms was given by the MHA to the members of the CCS on Monday. The CCS has given in-principle approval for the project," an official spokesperson said.
The budgetary allocation for the project will come from the planned expenditure, sources said. The MHA will take matter to the Plan panel for budgetary nod. Only then the project will get final approval. The project will take two to three years to get fully operational.
Natgrid will have access to about 21 categories of databases like phone records, credit card transactions, travel details, bank accounts, income tax returns and visa and immigration records. The database will be available to 11 law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
The ambitious "Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS) will lay the ground work for the Natgrid.
So far, there is no system under which one police station can talk to another directly. There is no record of crimes or criminals that can be accessed by a Station House Officer, except the manual records relating to the particular police station.
Also, there is no system of data storage and data sharing. All these issues will be taken care of under CCTNS.
$4.1bn US aircraft deal gets cleared
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on Monday cleared the decks for buying 10 Boeing C-17 military transport planes worth $4.1 billion (Rs 18,450 crore) from the US, the biggest defence deal with Washington so far.
The defence ministry had requested the US in January 2010 for outright purchase of 10 C-17 Globemaster III planes to modernise the air force's capabilities.
But the deal had been hanging fire for several months as India haggled with the US over the price. The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency last year notified the Congress of a possible foreign military sale of these planes to the IAF in a $5.8 billion deal (R26,100 crore), the highest possible estimate.
A tactical and strategic airlifter, the C-17 can deliver combat equipment, troops or humanitarian aid to small airfields thousands of miles away.