The government is planning to bring back plans to establish the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), which were first introduced during the UPA government’s regime.
The idea was earlier shelved after state government’s raised an opposition. However, according to sources Union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi informed the parliamentary standing committee that “no final decision” has been taken on the issue yet.
The NCTC was the brainchild of former Union home minister P Chidambaram, who now heads the standing committee as an opposition member, and it was modelled on the NCTC formed in the United States after the 9/11 attacks.
The idea was put into cold storage back then, after objections from several state governments over the powers proposed for the body. The state governments termed the centre an infringement upon their powers under the federal structure.
“The NCTC is not dead and buried. We are planning to establish it without involving states in it,” said a senior government official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. He refused to divulge more details on new proposal.
The UPA cabinet had cleared NCTC in 2012 in order to integrate and analyse all intelligence pertaining to terrorism.
The order in 2012 stated that the operations wing of the NCTC will have the power to arrest and search under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). State governments of West Bengal, Odisha and Chhattisgarh opposed it saying law and order is a state subject.
The parliamentary panel had met to discuss the discuss border management and internal security issues.
During the meet, Panel chief former home minister P Chidambaram inquired about the status of the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) project also launched when he was home minister.
He also wanted to know why the government was reducing the budget allocated to the project. Home ministry officials assured him that the project was on track. Some Congress members sought similar commitment from the government on NCTC as well.
Other members suggested more focus on the Indo-Bangladesh and the Indo-Nepal borders.
Panel briefed on surgical strikes
The parliament standing committee on defence received a briefing from Lt General Bipin Rawat regarding the surgical strikes carried out across the Line of Control (LoC) last month.
A source in the panel added that the postal voting system of army jawans was also discussed in the meeting. Some members of parliament (MPs), however, seemed dissatisfied with the briefing and felt all the information given was already made available publicly.