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The Union government has appointed AK Patnaik as the chief executive of National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID). His appointment will be effective from the date of assumption of charge of the post upto December 31, 2018, the government said in a release.

Patnaik is an IPS officer from the 1983 batch Gujarat cadre and is currently posted as an Additional Director in the Intelligence Bureau, as indicated by this Tribune report. He will be responsible for taking forward the government’s efforts to set up NATGRID.

The publication added that the position was vacant since the contract of Raghu Raman, the first CEO of Natgrid, and was not renewed by the NDA government. Ashok Prasad, a former secretary, had taken up the position of Acting CEO til January this year.

NATGRID was set up by the government in the aftermath of Mumbai attacks at an estimated cost of Rs 4,000-5,000 crore to enable monitoring of terrorist operations through existing banking, finance and transportation networks. Various ministries and departments act as provider agencies, that hold 21 categories of citizen database like bank account details, telephone records, passport data and vehicle registration details, are supposed to be linked and shared in real-time through the NATGRID with the 11 intelligence and investigative agencies, termed as user agencies.

It was reported that acting CEO Ashok Prasad, IPS officers Satish Chandra Jha (Bihar cadre) and IPS officer Sanjay Pandey (Maharashtra) were named as candidates for the post.

Budget for NATGRID increased: The expenditure for NATGRID stood at Rs 49.5 crore for the year 2015-16 (up to January 31, 2016).The expenditure for the NATGRID project has been steadily increasing over the years. In 2014-15, the expenditure stood at Rs 30.63 crore, Rs 29.03 crore in 2013-14, Rs 9.68 crore in 2012-13 and Rs 18.61 crore in 2011-12.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley’s Union budget speech which said that internal security would get a 13% hike in budget. The budget 2016-17 allocated Rs 77,383 crore to the union home ministry compared to 2015-16 budget that allocated Rs.68, 444 Crore.  The budget for the NATGRID project for 2016-17 year is Rs 45 crore.

Image source: Perspecsys Photos under  CC BY SA 2.0