Is turf war holding up creation of Natgrid?
Two years after the Congress promised to deliver on the ambitious National Intelligence Grid project, sections within the UPA government are having second thoughts on creation of the central database that would have helped track suspicious activities and avert terrorist attacks.delhi Updated: May 19, 2011 23:40 IST
Two years after the Congress promised to deliver on the ambitious National Intelligence Grid project, sections within the UPA government are having second thoughts on creation of the central database that would have helped track suspicious activities and avert terrorist attacks.
A home ministry request to make a presentation on Natgrid to the Cabinet Committee on Security has been pending for four months.
Under the project, Natgrid would have had access to about 21 categories of database such as railway and air travel, income tax, bank account details, credit card transactions, visa and immigration records.
Natgrid chief Raghu Raman's term expires later this month-end. Government sources said more than a third of the over 100 staff hired from the private sector had quit over the past few weeks. Raman was hired at a monthly salary of Rs 10 lakh.
"I am not too sure if his term should be extended if the government isn't going to take decisions… why waste more public money," a source said.
"They hadn't joined the project for the money but for the challenge...since several ministries are objecting, even before the home ministry's concept could be understood, they felt they were wasting their time," a government official said.
The CCS had last year given its approval to fund creation of a detailed report on the project.
"The Detailed Project Report was ready in December 2010. A note on the project has been circulated to ministries concerned and views were taken. But, no date has been given for a presentation of the draft report before the CCS," the official said.
Government sources said many ministries including defence had expressed their reservations on the project.
"It is the fear of the new animal… and a bit of turf war," a government source said.
Sources said since the Natgrid will function under the home ministry, it is felt there is a fear among the stakeholders who feel the ministry would have access to all information under their jurisdiction.