he National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) is a proposed national anti-terror body which is to become operational from 1 March. The standing council of the NCTC will consist of anti-terror agencies in states. The body will have three divisions dealing with collection and dissemination of intelligence, analysis and operations.
What are the powers granted to the NCTC?
The NCTC has been designed as a "single and most effective point of control for all counter-terrorism measures." The body will have the power to solicit any kind of information including documents, reports, transcripts and cyber details from any agency under the conditions of confidentiality. The NCTC will have powers under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) to carry out search operations across the country.
How did the proposal to set up the NCTC originate?
The NCTC has been designed on the lines of the American NCTC and the UK's "Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre". Home Minister P. Chidambaram and former National Security Adviser (NSA) M.K. Narayanan visited USA in 2009 to study the working of the American NCTC. In March 2010, the Home Minister visited the UK to study their system.
How is the Indian model different from its US and UK counterparts?
The American NCTC only deals with intelligence integration and strategic planning. It does not engage in operations. The UK intelligence integrates intelligence from different agencies. However, the Indian agency will combine overarching powers of conducting search operations as well as intelligence functions.
Why are the states objecting to the NCTC?
The NCTC, which will have the powers to requisition forces like the NSG and marine commandos, has been designed to skirt around the problem of law and order being a state subject. Some states fear that the NCTC is an attempt to trample over the rights of the states. Four Chief Ministers - Mamata Banerjee, J Jayalalithaa, Nitish Kumar and Naveen Patnaik- have joined hands demanding a review of NCTC. In a letter written to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asked the Prime Minister to review and withdraw the order on the organisation of the NCTC. The Chief Ministers have argued that the decision to constitute the NCTC should have been taken after due consultation with the state governments.
What is the Centre's stance on this?
The UPA, however, has defended the setting up NCTC arguing that it will not trample on the rights of the states. Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said that terror is a real threat and "it is necessary to bring together all elements of national power in real in order to surmount a formidable challenge to it."