Monday, May 26, 2014

Union Home Ministry Officials Dropped NCTC From Project List Due To Fear Of Modi

Prime Minister designate Narendra Modi has asked bureaucrats in various government departments to apprise him of the status of various pending projects, their progress and problems and what projects are required to be taken forward for implementation. All bureaucrats are busy in making presentations to be made to Modi.

However, what is the use of such reporting if it is not based upon fair, fearless and honest grounds. For instance, the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) has listed the projects that were blatantly ignored by it in the past. Now home ministry officials have released a list of areas and projects that must be carried forward by the home ministry.

Surprisingly, the home ministry officials have dropped the reference of National Counter Terrorism Centre of India (NCTC) at all. It is learnt that they have done this because Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi had been at loggerheads with the UPA government when he was Gujarat chief minister. Is this a valid reason to drop a project in a democratic country like India?

According to Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi based ICT law firm Perry4Law “This is a highly unfortunate situation. No project should be dropped simply because Mr. Narendra Modi has disliked the same in the past. It is the constitutional duty of bureaucrats to suggest inclusion of projects of National Importance keeping aside their own biases, prejudices or fears. If they simply drop a worth project like NCTC on the basis that Mr. Modi disliked it in the past nothing is more embarrassing and unfortunate than such an approach”.

“Even if Mr. Modi is averse to NCTC as on date, the bureaucrats must suggest the same. Of course, if there are some other issues, besides personal preferences or dislikes of Mr. Modi, they must be openly and frankly communicated to Mr. Modi and let him decide ultimately”. The NCTC of India must be constituted on a priority basis as it is need of the hour, opines Dalal.

Fortunately, the National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid) has found a mention in the proposed list. However, Natgrid is also facing many problems and this has made it non operational. The fact is that intelligence infrastructure has been plagued by administrative lapses and legal irregularities. Modernisation of law enforcement and intelligence agencies is need of the hour.

The chief opposition of Modi against NCTC was that he considered it to be a poorly conceived idea that tinkers with age-old existing systems. He believed that rather than strengthening our anti terrorism fight it will do irreparable loss to our internal security apparatus. Although time has drastically changed since then but our bureaucrats have given preference to their Modi’s fear over national interest and anti terrorism fight.