The Centre will soon take a decision on setting up the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Minister of State for Home Affairs Jitendra Singh informed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
He also said that after the issuance of notification in February for establishing the NCTC, some states had raised certain objections.
Following a request from the states for reaching a consensus on the issue, a Chief Ministers’ meeting was subsequently convened by the Union Government in May.
“(The)Government of India is committed to account for the concerns, objections and suggestions of various States and UTs. A suitable decision in this regard will be taken shortly,” Singh said.
The non-Congress ruled states of Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Gujarat and West Bengal had opposed the Centre’s proposal alleging that the NCTC would usurp the power of the states. Besides, the creation of the NCTC within the Intelligence Bureau (IB) had invited criticism, with the states alleging that the NCTC will not have legitimacy. The CMs of these States also revealed their fears about the likelihood of the NCTC encroaching on federal autonomy.
After coming under fire from various quarters, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA)decided to keep the proposed NCTC out of the IB.
In a bid to allay the fears of the state governments, the MHA diluted the absolute power of search and arrest by the NCTC. And in a revised draft standard operating procedure, the ministry made it clear that the Centre and the states will jointly conduct the operation. The arrests will be made by either the ATS or the local police and in some circumstances, where immediate action is required on intelligence input, NCTC officials will carry out a joint operation keeping the state in the loop.
Soon after the change of guard witnessed in the MHA, the NCTC proposal was recalled from the Cabinet Secretariat by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde for carrying out a thorough review. It is widely seen as an attempt to bridge the chasm between the Centre and the states over the sensitive issue of internal security.