• NATGRID is an ambitious counter terrorism programme.
  • It is a robust intelligence gathering mechanism related to banking, immigration, individual tax payers, air and train travels.
  • It will utilise technologies like Big Data and analytics to study and analyse the huge amounts of data from various intelligence and enforcement agencies to help track suspected terrorists and prevent terrorist attacks.
  • It will connect, in different phases, data providing organisations and users besides developing a legal structure through which information can be accessed by the law enforcement agencies.
  • NATGRID will have data related to all immigration entry and exit, air flyers, credit card purchases, banking and financial transactions, individual tax payers, telecom, and train travellers among others to generate intelligence inputs.
  • The data recovery centre of the NATGRID has been constructed in Bengaluru, Karnataka and its headquarters is nearing completion in Delhi.
Why was it needed?
  • NATGRID is a post Mumbai 26/11 attack measure.
  • It aims to mitigate a vital deficiency — lack of real time information, which was considered to be one of the major hurdles in detecting US terror suspect David Headley’s movement across the country during his multiple visits between 2006 and 2009.
  • In the wake of 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, the lack of real time data and information was considered to be one of the major hurdles in detecting U.S. terror suspect David Headley’s movement across India during his multiple visits between 2006 and 2009. He was main individual who had provided key information and videos of terror targets to Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, which carried out attacks that claimed 166 lives. Thereby on 8 April 2010, the Cabinet Committee on Security had given approval to NATGRID project.
  • NATGRID will become a secure centralised database to stream sensitive information from 21 sets of data sources such as banks, credit cards, visa, immigration and train and air travel details, as well as from various intelligence agencies.
  • The database would be accessible to authorised persons from 11 agencies on a case-to-case basis, and only for professional investigations into suspected cases of terrorism.
Phase I: In 1st phase, 10 user agencies and 21 service providers will be connected with NATGRID. In later stages 950 organisations and then another 1,000 organisations will be connected with it.
10 agencies which will be able to access NATGRID data on real time basis are:
  • Intelligence Bureau (IB)
  • Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW)
  • Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
  • Enforcement Directorate (ED)
  • Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)
  • Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)
  • Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)
  • Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC)
  • Directorate General of Central Excise and Intelligence (DGCEI)
  • Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)
Initially, no state agencies will be given direct access to NATGRID data but in case any relevant information is required, they can approach NATGRID through any of 10 user agencies. NATGRID can also have readily available data on banking transactions and immigration as both sectors are equipped with real time mechanism.

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