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National Intelligence Grid to roll out by end of the year?

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday chaired a high-level meeting in a bid to jump-start the inordinately delayed National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid). The project, a brain child of P Chidambaram, has failed to take off even after 11 years of its initial launch. But Amit Shah is keen to have the project up and running by year-end.

The top officials of Natgrid gave a detailed presentation to the home minister in North Block.

Sources said that the project has been aimed to solve the issue of “entity resolution” through artificial intelligence.

Natgrid will not have a database of its own, rather it will have a collated database connected with software. The database, collated from as many as 17-18 agencies, will ensure that amongst the innumerable suspects or terrorist, the search will narrow down the result to just two or three.

The search will be intelligence and security agencies’ very own closed group “google search” to arrive at the right answer for every query, within a fraction of seconds. Sources said that the database has a pool of mobile numbers, vehicle numbers, passport numbers, Aadhaar numbers, arms licenses, bank accounts and social media accounts.

Currently, for information the agencies have to fan out and often even compete with each other. But Natgrid will have answers in one place, narrowing down the search result of a suspect based on name, gender and age profile.

A top source pointed out that after the recent Pulwama attack, which killed 40 CRPF soldiers, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) contacted Maruti car makers to help identify the exact car used in the blast.

While the number of the car was not available as the vehicle filled with explosives was blown up into pieces, the company reverted back within 5 days that they had traced the exact car by sharing the number on the shock absorber.

Natgrid will not only help to trace the current location of the suspect but also aid in backtrack-ability. The processing speed is likely to be much faster.

A source said that Natgrid, once fully functional, will help in real-time tracking of a terror operative or suspect.

A source said, “Janamkundli (entire history) of the suspect will be before agency tracking the person. For instance, the identification of mobile number, his current status, bank balance, his travel destination will be known by a click of the button.”

“So far it is only been seen in movies, but it will be a reality. Now, if a suspect is on a train. We have to dispatch several teams and check manually. But now, real-time tracking will be possible. The railway and airlines will have real-time tracking facility,” sources said.

The banks had shown reservation of sharing data, but sources said that has also been taken care of.

Sources said that Home Minister Amit Shah has gone through former home minister P Chidambaram’s files on Natgrid’s concent and has found it to be good in principle.

According to sources, the building of Natgrid is ready on the outskirts of Delhi. If all goes well, the home minister is expected to inaugurate the project by year-end.


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