India’s Multi-Agency Centre (MAC), the country’s biggest intelligence input sharing platform, will soon get an upgrade with massive work underway to bring into effect landmark changes to make it real-time and swifter.
MAC was set up in 2001 after the Kargil War under the Intelligence Bureau. The centre is headquartered in Delhi and 28 agencies like the R&AW, state police, financial intelligence bodies and defence intelligence bodies, are part of the system through which they share intelligence inputs. State-level MACs coordinate with the centre through nodal officers.
A top government official told News18.com that the process of removing flaws from the system is underway, and soon, the system will have more sub-divisions, sub-groups based on sectors, limitations on input receiver, and reach of input will be widened to reach ground level commander in real-time. Next-level data encryption is also in the works.
According to sources, Union Home Minister Amit Shah in a meeting asked IB director and other officials to make MAC more effective and said information should travel in a time-bound manner, more swiftly and reach the right person at ground level in real-time without any delay.
“In the meeting, it was discussed that NATGRID, MAC and NMB should get integrated in more efficient way. The system can find out details shared by different agencies without any delay to back the input. The system will now have an easier way of sorting inputs and it will have next-level data encryption. The input will be sent directly to the concerned persons or agency instead of sending it to all,” a senior official News18.
Sources said the Home Ministry has also asked agencies to make National Memory Bank (NMB) more efficient to include interrogation reports and details other than that of terror outfits.
According to sources, the system will have close to half a dozen sub-groups with additional division at different levels. It will help all 28 agencies understand the system easily. Also, if there is any input, the system will send it only to the concerned persons and one can sort from the list as well.
An intelligence official told News18 that in the current system, an input gets shared with all as there is no process to limit the number of agencies. “Since all inputs are being sent to everyone, it has made the system less effective. Sometimes, agencies don’t even check as there are as many as 200-250 inputs shared with all per day. No nodal officer takes the pain to read all and act on the input relevant to them. The system has no sorting process,” the official said.
Daily meetings at MAC headquarters with nodal officers of different agencies will also see some changes. Sources said monthly meetings will be based on more subjects other than Jammu and Kashmir, cross-border terrorism and left-wing extremism.
Officially, activities of MAC include daily nodal officer’s meetings at MAC headquarters, monthly meetings on cross-border terrorism in J&K and Northeast, and fortnightly meetings on Left Wing Extremism.
During such meetings, intelligence inputs are shared and discussed with concerned agencies or state police. State-level MAC meetings are attended by state police and other agencies every fortnight.