Satya S Lolla has been appointed as the joint secretary of NATGRID, an intelligence program under the Ministry of Home Affairs, for a 5-year tenure. Lolla is a 1991 batch Indian Revenue Services (Customs and Central Excise) officer. Union Home Minister Amit Shah had discussed the revival of NATGRID on September 12 and wanted it to be operationalised by the end of this year. Lolla will replace IPS officer Ashish Gupta, who was assigned the post in August 2014.
Lolla’s appointment was part of a major bureaucratic shuffle of the joint secretary level, 29 other joint secretaries were appointed to different departments in the shuffle.
What is NATGRID and why was it created? NATGRID is the national intelligence grid to link multiple public and private databases together and make this data available to intelligence agencies. According to the former Minister of State for Home Affairs, Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, it was created with an “intention to link databases for collecting actionable intelligence to combat terrorism and internal security threats.”
It was set-up with the approval from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), as an attached office of the Ministry of Home Affairs on 1st December 2009. CCS approved the Detailed Project Report on in 2011. The Planning Commission (now NITI Aayog) had also accorded it ‘in principle’ approval to the project in 2011, as ‘Central Plan Scheme’ under MHA from 2011-2012.
Which data will NATGRID include? The NATGRID will have data from 21 data sources like telecommunication, banking, financial transactions, airlines, SEBI, and Railways.
Who will have access to this data? Former Minister of State of Home Affairs, Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary identified 10 user agencies who will be able to access the NATGRID data on a real-time basis. As per CCCS mandate, the user agencies of NTGRID are:
- Intelligence Bureau (IB)
- Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW)
- Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
- Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)
- Enforcement Directorate (ED)
- Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)
- Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)
- Central Board of Excise and Customs
- Directorate General of Central Excise and Intelligence (DGCEI)
- Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)