The intelligence infrastructure of India is not in a very good shape. It is suffering from numerous evils and deficiencies that are impacting its effectiveness and utility. These shortcomings of intelligence infrastructure of India are, primarily, administrative, legal, financial, technological and human resource oriented. There are other related problems as well. For instance, the intelligence infrastructure of India is in big mess. We need to develop intelligence gathering skills development in India so that effective intelligence can be generated, processed and used in real time.
On the administrative side there is lack of coordination among various intelligence agencies of India. This is further widened by the bureaucratic hurdles that forbid effective coordination and collaboration among various intelligence agencies of India. In fact, intelligence agencies and their functioning were bifurcated among different Government Departments instead of making them accountable to a single Department. Now we have a chance to bring them together under a single Ministry/Department under Mr. Narendra Modi’s led BJP Government as the proposed Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) would emerge as a “Centralised National Reforms Point” of India.
On the legal side, there is no Parliamentary oversight of these intelligence agencies as well. The 10 points legal framework (PDF) has already been provided by Perry4Law in this regard. On the legislation front, a legal framework on the lines of Intelligence Services (Powers and Regulation) Bill, 2011 must be formulated and enacted by our Parliament. The National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid) Project of India has already been launched. However, a legal framework for Natgrid project of India is also needed as an unaccountable Natgrid is not a panacea for intelligence failures of India.
Further, we need to repeal the laws like Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act 2000), Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, etc and come up with better laws so they remain Constitutional. These laws have become an instrumentality to violate Civil Liberties in Cyberspace of Indian Citizens by both our Politicians and intelligence agencies of India. Even private detectives have been exploiting the loopholes present in these laws to violate Constitutional Rights of Indian Citizens. Similarly, crucial laws are absent from Indian statute books. These include law regarding Privacy, Data Protection (PDF), Telecom Security, Encryption, Cloud Computing, etc. that must be formulated urgently.
On the financial side, proper allocation of funds at appropriate time is need of the hour. Intelligence agencies of India need to upgrade their infrastructure, especially technological ones, and in the absence of adequate and timely funding, this usually receives a setback. Bureaucratic hurdles and Inter-Department rivalries have affected intelligence agencies funding in the past and this mistake must not be repeated now.
The technological challenges before the intelligence agencies are very vexing in nature. There has been very negligible technological upgradation and modernisation of intelligence infrastructure of India. Further, there are numerous Cyber Security Challenges before the Narendra Modi Government as on date. Thus, Indian cyberspace must be protected on a priority basis. Both offensive and defensive cyber security capabilities of India must be developed to tackle any future cyber espionage and cyber warfare activities against India and her critical infrastructures (PDF). If done in a legal and “Constitutional Manner”, even legal immunity can be granted to people working to deter cyber attacks against India.
Similarly, to protect India’s interests, the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) of India must be constituted urgently. The Unsolvable Terrorism Dilemma of India cannot be resolved in the absence of a NCTC and coordinated efforts in this regard. In short, Indian counter terrorism capabilities need rejuvenation by one means or other.
On the human resources front, the intelligence agencies of India should recruit more manpower, especially the tech savvy and young officers. Young field operatives must be trained to do intelligence works.
In short, intelligence agencies of India must not only be strengthened but they must be made more transparent and accountable.