While the contentious Communal Violence Bill and the National Counter Terrorism Center proposed by the UPA 2 were dropped from a presentation made by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs for the new government, the National Intelligence Grid or Natgrid, which was conceived after the 26/11 attack in Mumbai was kept on the agenda. Now however, in indication that the NDA will not hesitate to axe non-performing schemes or alter their trajectory, the NDA government has decided not to extend the contract of the Natgrid's high profile CEO Raghu Raman.
A report in The Indian Express said the CEO's contract which expired on 31 May 31 will not be renewed.
The report said Raman had initially agreed to accept a two-year extension when the UPA sounded him out in April. Three days ago however, the Natgrid office was informed that no extension would be forthcoming.
The Natgrid is an ambitious security infrastructure, an intelligence database to provide quick and secure information to 10 different intelligence and law enforcement agencies including the Intelligence Bureau, Customs, etc. It will record and relay information pertaining to immigration, banking transactions and telecom details.
The project has suffered from slow progress since its inception in 2011, slowing down further after the departure of former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram from the ministry.
According to the report, "Not renewing the CEO’s contract has put a question mark on the future of the ambitious intelligence grid, with the organisation not even being called to make a presentation before new Home Minister Rajnath Singh. NATGRID employs around 70 personnel, drawn from both the Government and private sectors, and it remains to be seen if the NDA Government scouts for a new NATGRID head or gives the intelligence grid a thumbs down."
Interestingly, a previous report in The Times of India had pointed out that the new National Security Advisor Ajit Doval was a "strong votary" of the stronger counter-terrorism structures including the Natgrid and the National Counter Terrorism Centre.
But key elements of the anti-terror infrastructure or the "internal security machinery", including the Natgrid, are expected to report directly to the PMO in the new regime. A report in the Indian Express said the internal security division could be removed from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and placed directly uinder the PMO.
This fuels speculation that Modi wanted Raghu Raman out in favour of another candidate.
Updated Date: Jun 05, 2014 10:53:37 IST