The Union government decided to operationalise the ambitious National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) from 1 March 2012. A pet project of Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, the NCTC got approval from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in January 2012.
The operations division of the counter-terrorism body were powers to arrest and carry out searches under Section 43A of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
The NCTC is to be located in the Intelligence Bureau and headed by a Director who will be an officer in the rank of Additional Director, IB. It will have three units — gathering intelligence, analysis of intelligence and carrying out operations. Each of these divisions will be headed by a joint director of the IB.
Powers of NCTC
The NCTC will have the power to requisition the services of the elite National Security Guard (NSG), according to the official order. Also it can integrate intelligence pertaining to terrorism, analyse it, pursue or mandate other agencies to pursue the different leads, and coordinate with the existing agencies for an effective response.
It will also maintain a comprehensive database of terrorists and their associates, friends, families, and supporters of terrorist modules and gangs and of all information pertaining to terrorists.
The NCTC will prescribe counter-terrorism priorities for each stakeholder and ensure that all agencies have access to and receive source intelligence support that is necessary to execute counter-terrorism plans and accomplish their assigned tasks. It will also have the power to enjoy prepare daily threat assessment reviews and disseminate them to the appropriate levels in the Central government and to the State governments.
The GoM that reviewed the internal security system in the aftermath of the Kargil conflict had recommended the establishment of a Multi Agency Centre (MAC) in the IB which was set up in 2001. Its functions, powers and duties were prescribed in 2008.
The Second Administrative Reforms Commission in 2008 recommended that the MAC be converted into the NCTC with personnel drawn from different intelligence and security agencies.
A review of the current architecture of counter terrorism also revealed several gaps and deficiencies. A need was therefore felt for a single centre of control and coordination of all counter-terrorism measures.
The NCTC will have to ensure that it does not duplicate the roles of other agencies and work through the existing agencies in the country.