CCS nod to counter-terror body soon

New Delhi: A nodal agency to counter terrorism with representation from security and intelligence agencies will get the cabinet nod this month, Home Minister P Chidambaram said today. "A final note on setting up the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) is now before the Cabinet Committee on Security and we hope a decision will be taken before the end of this calendar year," he said during Question Hour in the Lok Sabha.

However, he said, no final decision has been taken on the constitution and structure of the proposed NCTC.

Chidambaram replied to supplementaries amid vociferous protests by the opposition NDA, which demanded his ouster in connection with the 2G case.

NDA members were on their feet every time he rose to answer questions but Speaker Meira Kumar ignored the opposition protests and went ahead with the Question Hour.

The BJP had also given a notice to move a privilege motion against the Home Minister for allegedly showing disrespect to Parliament by making a statement outside the House over a recent controversy on a court case in which Chidambaram had appeared on behalf of a Delhi hotelier.

Chidambaram said the NATGRID has been set up to link databases which would be an input in combating terrorism.

"It intends to create a facility that improves India`s capability to counter internal threats," he said.

The Intelligence Bureau is responsible for collecting, collating and disseminating intelligence having bearing on national security and protection of the Constitution.

Chidambaram, in reply to another question, said there was adequate strategic coordination between different agencies of the government.

He said the Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) helped in providing coordination between intelligence agencies.

At a higher level, the National Security Council and the Cabinet Committee on Security facilitate coordination among various wings of the government.

Chidambaram said the MAC in the Intelligence Bureau has been strengthened and re-organised to enable it to function on 24×7 basis.

The minister said 24×7 control rooms have been set up at MAC, New Delhi and at the Subsidiary MACs at state-level and at headquarters of intelligence wings of other agencies to ensure timely sharing of information and better coordination between intelligence agencies.

Regular meetings of the agencies were also conducted for sharing emergent inputs and further follow up of the same, he said adding it was mandatory for all member agencies to share information and act on the shared inputs.