New Delhi: NATGRID - a pet project of Finance Minister P Chidambaram during his tenure as Home Minister - witnessed a quantum jump in the 2013-14 budget getting a six-fold increase with the allocation pegged at Rs 66.5 crore.
The NATGRID, which was set up to link databases of several departments and ministries and collect comprehensive patterns of intelligence that can be accessed by security agencies, is expected to become operational from June this year. Envisaged to link 21 data sources from 11 intelligence agencies and collect actual information that will support fight against terrorism, the NATGRID was alloted funds to the tune of Rs 364.80 crore in the previous budget which was, however, revised to just Rs 10.99 crore as some of the plans were not given clearance by the Government.
The revised budgetary allocations was finalised at Rs 10.99 crore that has been raised in this budget to Rs 66.50 crore, according to budget documents. The idea of establishing a NATGRID was taken in the wake of the Mumbai attack in November 2008. Chidambaram, after taking over as Home Minister in 2009, had said that the NATGRID project will be completed within 18 to 24 months but the Cabinet Committee of Security(CCS) gave its clearance only in mid-2011 for implementation in four phases.
According to official documents, Raghu Raman was appointed Chief Executive Officer of NATGRID in 2009 at a monthly salary of Rs 10 lakh besides other perks and allowances. Raman, a retired military officer who was working as CEO of Mahindra Defence Land System, was appointed to the new post on December 1, 2009, on a contractual basis which was extended on June 1, 2011 for three years.