I-T dept to share PAN database with NATGRID

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NATGRID, is back in the news after a hiatus. It was in 2009 that it earlier hit the headlines as the brainchild of Union home minister P Chidambaram in the fight against terrorism.

Regarding this project, Chidambaram had discussed, with various agencies, ‘in detail implementation of this ambitious project without infringing upon the privacy of individuals whose details - banking, insurance, immigration, income tax, telephone and internet usage, will be on the NATGRID’.

In a recent development the IT Department has decided to share its Permanganate Account Number database with NATGRID. The NATGRID can provide the 11 authorized security and investigation agencies access to this data base.

This network has been initiated  to create a platform, where the IT  department can with the help of law enforcing agencies, tackle terror threats within the country and abroad by sharing robust information. Law enforcement and security agencies already have access to most of these records even now, but as they work individually,  the information is not available all together. But by sharing its database with NATGRID, once an investigation or security agency has the name of an individual, all his personal data, available with the different agencies like airlines, railways, banks, income tax, insurance etc, will be available at once! That is the advantage of the system.

The government was  initially concerned about the impact of this project on the  privacy of the individual, but have now, after a presentation by the home ministry, it has cleared the first two phases of the NATGRID, and given the ‘in-principle’ approval for the next two phases.

After getting approval from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the department  has however withheld, sharing the ‘highly sensitive’ and ‘sensitive’ database of the taxpayers and their entities related to investigations and financial transactions.

The spokes  persons of the finance Ministry have revealed that although the ‘index of the PAN card database has been given to NATGRID, the information given in the database will be revealed only if the law enforcing agencies specially wish to probe in  specific cases as a part of intelligence sharing.

The index of the PAN database given to the agencies is just a brief, concise description of a particular  information given in the other database.

To achieve a quick, seamless and secure access to the relevant information required by the law enforcement or intelligence agencies, the Cabinet Committee on Security has recently given an affirmative approval to this project which aims to bring 21 sets of databases in this network. Among others the database includes income-tax, air travel, rail travel, bank account details, visa and immigration records and credit card transactions.

The ministry plans to connect 10 user agencies and 21 service providers in the first phase which will comprise of 26 months; while 950 additional organizations will be connected in the later phases which will stretch to a period of 12 months; and finally around 1000 more organizations in the following 12 months.

The National Intelligence Grid or the NATGRID as it is popularly called will become operational from January 2013. With the approval of the CCS or the Cabinet Committee on Security, this Rs 1,200 crore project has been set to roll by the Home Ministry.
According to one of the officials of the Home Ministry, "Now, the process of setting up the structure will begin. Initially we will go for a purchasing server and other equipment and their installations.

Author Box
Uday Patel has 16 articles online

Uday writes often about  pan card issued by IT Dept in India. He also writes about myths and rumours about the permenant account number. Uday writes on security practices for citizen safety in India.

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I-T dept to share PAN database with NATGRID

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I-T dept to share PAN database with NATGRID

This article was published on 2012/01/16
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