New Delhi: The home ministry has started formal consultations with all stakeholders for setting up the National Intelligence Grid which will help law enforcement and spy agencies to get quick access to desired information, including about terror suspects like David Headley.
The home ministry has sent the NATGRID proposal to the ministries of external affairs, defence, finance, telecom besides others for their suggestions and necessary approval to the planned structure which is expected to be fully operational by May 2011.
Once cleared by the concerned ministries or stakeholders, the proposal will be placed before the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for approval, a senior official said.
The move is being seen as a crucial step towards setting up the NATGRID that will facilitate robust information sharing by security agencies and law enforcement agencies to combat terror threat at home and abroad.
This is the second major step by the home ministry after the appointment of former head of Mahindra Special Services Group Raghu Raman as chief executive officer of the NATGRID project.
Lack of real-time information was considered to be the major hurdle in the detection of US terror suspect David Headley’s past as well as his movement across the country during his multiple visits to India between 2006 and 2009.
The NATGRID will give access to 21 categories of database like railway and air travel, Income Tax, phone calls, bank account details, credit card transactions, visa and immigration records, property records, driving licence of all citizens in the country.
The NATGRID will mainly be accessed by a total of 11 agencies including the newly created National Investigation Agency (NIA), the official said.
The NATGRID will link all data currently gathered separately by different ministries to provide a seamless flow of information to intelligence and law enforcement agencies for counter-terrorism as well as law enforcement efforts.
The other agencies which will have access to the database include Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing, Defence Intelligence Agency, Directorate of Air Intelligence, Directorate of Naval Intelligence and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence to name a few.
The user agencies and the databases have been identified. The complete NATGRID programme is likely to be delivered in three phases within two years, the official said.