by Gunjan Chawla, CCG at NLU Delhi.
This is an edited excerpt of Part IV and Annexure ‘B’ of CCG’s Comments to the National Security Council Secretariat on the National Cyber Security Strategy 2020 (NCSS 2020). The full text of the Comments can be accessed here.
This consolidated organogram is a depiction of cyber security institutions in India as an inter-ministerial and inter-departmental ecosystem. Different ministries and departments are in charge of different aspects of national security in general and cyber security in particular.
The National Security Advisor (NSA) holds a rank equivalent to a Cabinet Minister in charge of the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and is the apex officer relating to national security. The NSA is also in charge of the National Technical Research Organization (NTRO) which is a technical intelligence agency under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) was established under Section 70A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and functions as a unit of the NTRO.
The National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) is the nodal officer for issues related to cybersecurity, functioning under the PMO along side the NSCS to coordinate with different agencies like CERT-In at the national level.
Our research reveals that the Ministry of Communications, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) are most relevant to the establishment, operation and maintenance of technical and administrative ecosystem that enables cybersecurity. The departmental structure of each of these Ministries is outlined below.
Ministry of Communications
The Ministry of Communications consists of two Departments – (i) Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the (ii) Department of Posts.
The DoT deals with (a) issues of policy, licensing and coordination matters relating to telegraphs, telephones, wireless, data, facsimile and telematic services and other like forms of communications, (b) standardization, research and development in telecommunications, (c) procurement of stores and equipment required by the Department of Telecommunications and (d) administration of laws including the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 (13 of 1885), the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933 (17 of 1933), the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 (24 of 1997), among others. Within its ambit is also the Digital Communications Commission, which is responsible for implementing the Government’s telecom policy in all matters relating to telecommunication.
Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
The Ministry for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) deals with all policy matters relating to information technology, electronics and the internet (barring issues relating to licensing of Internet Service Providers, which fall within the mandate of the DoT). Its major functions include (a) the administration of matters relating to cyber laws including the Information and Technology Act, 2000, (b) Promotion of standardization, testing and quality in IT and standardization of procedure for IT application and Tasks and (c) digital initiatives including Digital India, among others.
Significantly, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) as well as the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) are both within its ambit. The Cyber Swacchta Kendra (Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Center) functions under CERT-In.
Ministry of Home Affairs
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) discharges multifarious responsibilities, the important among them being – internal security, border management, Centre-State relations, administration of Union Territories, management of Central Armed Police Forces, disaster management, etc. The MHA continuously monitors the internal security situation, issues appropriate advisories, shares intelligence inputs, extends manpower and financial support, guidance and expertise to the State Governments for maintenance of security, peace and harmony.
Among others, the MHA’s Cyber and Information Security Division (consisting of the Cyber Crime Wing, Cyber Security Wing and Monitoring Unit) as well as some wings of the Department of Internal Security including the Modernization Division of the Police and the Counter Terrorism and Counter Radicalization Division have particular relevance to cyber security.
The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) was established as a scheme in 2018 to combat cyber crime in a coordinated and effective manner.
Ministry of Defence
The MoD is comprised of four Departments – Department of Defence (DOD), Department of Defence Production (DDP), Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare and also Finance Division.
A new Department of Military Affairs has been created recently, and is headed by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat. Departments that have particular relevance to cybersecurity, including the newly established Defence Cyber Agency are highlighted.
Ministry of External Affairs
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is responsible for all matters relating to India’s external affairs including consular functions. Departments / activities that have relevance to cybersecurity are highlighted in purple, including international security, counter terrorism and others. The New Emerging and Strategic Technologies (NEST) Division was recently set up as the nodal point for all matters connected to new and emerging technologies including exchange of views with foreign governments and coordination with domestic ministries and departments. News reports indicate that a major restructuring of the MEA is in the offing.
This article was first published on CCG-NLUD’s blog, its been cross-posted with prior permission.