[Polity] National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC): Meaning, functions, Controversy

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  1. Introduction: The Need for NCTC
  2. What will NCTC do?
  3. Multi-Agency Centre (MAC)
  4. How is it different from US and UK  model?
  5. What is the problem with NCTC?
    1. Power to Arrest without informing State Government
    2. Overlapping with NIA
  6. Present Status of NCTC

Introduction: The Need for NCTC

  • National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC)
  • After the 26/11 attacks, Government  felt the need to setup a separate body to deal with terrorism.
  • NCTC is modelled on the American NCTC and Britain’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre.
  • NCTC will derive its powers from the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967
  • The basic idea is to prevent confusion regarding intelligence inputs and also ensure that none of the police forces from the states enter into a blame game regarding intelligence sharing as one got to see during the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.

What will NCTC do?

  1. It will have the power to conduct searches and arrests in any part of India.
  2. will  collect, collate and disseminate data on terrorism.
  3. will also maintain a data base on terrorist and their associates including their families.
  4. In short, NCTC will serve as a single and effective point of control and coordination of all counter terrorism measures.

Multi-Agency Centre (MAC)

It is platform to share varied intelligence inputs coming from various agencies like the

  1. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI),
  2. Economic Intelligence Agency,
  3. Enforcement Directorate etc. –

Earlier this MAC was under Intelligence Bureau under Home Ministry.

But in future, the MAC will be placed under the NCTC.

How is it different from US and UK  model?

  • USA’s NCTC which deals only with strategic planning and integration of intelligence without any operational involvement
  • UK ‘s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, which too plays a purely coordinating role.
  • But the Indian NCTC will have not only intelligence functions but also powers to conduct operations, raids and arrests in any part of India.

What is the problem with NCTC?

  • NCTC was to start working from March 2012, but it couldnot be launched due to opposition from a group of Non-Congress chief ministers  who say that NCTC is against the federal structure of the country.

Power to Arrest without informing State Government

  • Non-Congress chief ministers allege that the NCTC has been empowered to search and arrest people without informing the state government, police or anti-terror squad in the loop.
  • Take this scenario for example. A suspected terrorist is holed up in a state. The officials of the NCTC would have the right to enter into that state and pick him or her up without informing the state machinery and deal with him under their laws.
  • The role of the state becomes redundant with such powers and states would have no say or role to play in the fight against terrorism.
  • This would have a bearing on the rights and privileges of the states as enshrined in the Constitution.
  • To curb this fear, Home Ministry had altered the rules. Now, the senior most police officers in all states – the Director Generals of Police and the chiefs of anti-terror squads of all states will be members of the Standing Council of the NCTC. They will be informed before the NCTC conducts an operation in their state.
  • And Home Ministry had also assured the State Governments that NCTC will now be able to carry out anti-terror operations only in the rarest of rare cases.

Overlapping with NIA

  • National Investigating Agency (NIA) was established after the 26/11 attacks.
  • So, the establishment of a new NCTC would only add to the bureaucratic tangle in intelligence sharing and counter terrorist action.
  • However, Chindu had assured that NIA is merely a predecessor of NCTC. (so once NCTC comes into operation, the NIA will function under it or will be submerged into NCTC)

Present Status of NCTC

  • After Pranab become President, Chindu became Finance Minister and thus Shinde became the Home Minister.
  • But Shinde, in his first public speech, did not mention National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) or National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID).
  • That means, Home Ministry has put the idea in back-burner for now. [May be too busy dozing the coal-scam fire]

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9 Comments on “[Polity] National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC): Meaning, functions, Controversy”

  1. is the allegation made by states on nctc tht it will infringe their rights legitimate or is it just BJP’s politics…….bcz states r only concerned abt their power and wht abt safety n security of ppl????

  2. there is a factual incorrect understanding
    1.Under NCTC after arrest of a suspect it has to turn to local police ASAP and they will prosecute and conduct further investigation
    2. NIA is not to subsumed in NCTC . While NIA is an investigating agency ( post-martem) but NCTC would be a preventive agency i.e. strive to prevent a terrorist act from happening

  3. Hi Good morning Sir, Im a civil aspirant and going to appear in 2013.I have heared about the pattern change .SHOULD I START WITH THE…OPTIONALS OR THE GS??

  4. After the HOME MINISTRY altered NCTC a bit, by integrating respective state DGP’S and ATS chiefs in to the standing council of nctc then what is the problem with this act to non congress states. why they are fearing ?

    1. NCTC is now in the cold storage. Unlikely to be revived by the govt especially in the last few months of it’s tenure. they already have too many things on their plate. Coming to the question. well we have seen how CBI has been used/misused by respective Union Governments to meet their political gains. there is no reason not to believe that the same may happen with the NCTC. Plus, there is a duplication of agencies. We already have NIA. rather than giving extra teeth to it why is the govt interested in creating a new agency alltogether?. it wil only increase the turf war prevalant among several law enforcement agencies in the country. And let us not forget the Parliamentary Panel’s decision which strongly advised not to go ahead with NCTC without taking all state governments on board.
      on a side note, NCTC was a brainchild of chidambaram. He wanted this to be modelled after the CTC of USA. But one major difference is, the CTC is purely an intelligence gathering centre. It does not have any executive power to act on the Intelligence. That job is in the domain of other law enforcement agencies like FBI, State Police etc. But Chidambaram, for some unknown reasons wanted to give executive powers for this NCTC. which, ironically, became the root of all the problems associated with it.

  5. sir i am taking exam this year i completed ncert books and polity and daily iam reading current event and making notes. but writing answer is difficult me . what do for improving

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