5,490 ‘sensitive’ investment proposals got Home ministry nod in past 5 years
The MHA is the nodal ministry for granting security clearance in sensitive sectors before issue of licence, permit etc. to companies, bidders and individuals by the administrative ministry. The objective is to evaluate potential threats, visible or embedded.Updated: Oct 29, 2019, 10:10 IST
The ministry of home affairs has given security clearance to 5,490 investment proposals, including foreign direct investment (FDI), in last five years, since NDA came to power in 2014 till March this year, according to the its annual report accessed by HT.
The MHA is the nodal ministry for granting security clearance in sensitive sectors before issue of licence, permit, permission, contract etc, to companies, bidders and individuals by the administrative ministry. The objective of the national security clearance is to evaluate potential threats, visible or embedded, in proposals received by the home ministry and to provide a national risk assessment, an official said.
“The objective of national security clearance is to evaluate potential security threats, including economic threats, and provide risk assessment before clearing investment and project proposals in key, sensitive sectors. The aim is to strike a healthy balance between meeting the imperatives of national security on the one hand and facilitating ease of doing business and promoting investment in the country on the other,” states the MHA annual report 2018-19.
The report adds that MHA has streamlined the security clearance procedures and issued a fresh set of guidelines on security clearance procedures on June 25, 2018 in supersession of the guidelines dated July 1, 2015. “A committee of officers meets every week in MHA for timely decision on security clearance proposals. 5490 proposals related to security clearance were disposed from May, 2014 to March, 2019,” it said.
The ministry added that “in order to bring further efficiency and transparency and promote ease of doing business, an online ‘e-sahaj’ portal for applying for security clearance was launched by it on September 18, 2018.
“With the introduction of online portal, the process has become standardized, resulting in a process which is faster, transparent and easy to monitor. Various functionaries can access the application and documents online, take timely decisions and obviate delays. The portal facilitates the applicant to submit application online and also to view the status of his application. The administrative ministries are being encouraged to make full use of the ‘e-sahaj’ portal,” MHA report added.
The national security clearance policy was drawn up by the ministry to fast-track the security clearance process and complete it within 4-6 weeks upon receiving the application as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ease-of-doing-business plan under the Make In India initiative.
As per the policy, the promoters, owners and directors of the company are mandated to give self declarations regarding any criminal history on their part, which reduced the period required to give security clearance from 2-3 months earlier to just 4-6 weeks now.
The ministry takes into account security inputs from the Intelligence Bureau, the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate and other agencies. The sensitive proposals taken into consideration are from areas like telecom, ports, civil aviation, uplinking/downlinking of TV channels or FM stations.