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Monday, October 24, 2016

Govt to set up Rs 1,000-cr cyber security R&D fund

With the recent escalation in threats from neighbouring countries and incidents of ATM/debit card data breach, the Centre is setting up a cyber security research and development fund of Rs.1,000 crore to be spent over five years.

According to senior officials, this will be administered by a high-power committee headed by National Security Advis0r Ajit Doval.
Focus on critical infra

One of the salient features of the proposed scheme is the emphasis on technology for protection of critical infrastructure needed by law enforcement agencies, sources told BusinessLine.

At a mid-October meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), it was decided that such an R&D programme can be operationalised and implemented by the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS). The fund will be sourced from the annual budgets of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) under a separate head.


The activities proposed to be covered under the programme will include support for R&D projects, setting up centres of excellence, an inter-operability laboratory to test the developed hardware and software products, indigenisation of products, and human resource development.

Such a scheme was first proposed in 2013, and in July last year it was again floated with a draft note for the CCS from the NSCS for comments, the official said.

The sources also said that the CCS, at its meeting in May 2013, had considered and approved the note on ‘Framework for Enhancing Cyber Security of Indian Cyber Space’. It was proposed to set up a national-level fund for undertaking R&D in certain strategic areas of cyber security.

Vulnerability effect

“So, it is a proposal already in place, which is being revisited,” said another official, adding that the government has decided to establish the R&D fund now, considering the current situation of vulnerability.

The recent advances in ICT (information, communication, technology) and the exponential growth of the Internet are posing several challenges in the form of sophisticated/complex cyber incidents, the sources said.

“Such cyber incidents and risks may cause major disruptions that could impact the economy. Dependence on a few countries for technology and equipment could compromise national interest and security,” said one of the sources.

Considering the strategic and critical nature of cyber space, several countries recently included cyber as part of their military strategy and brought security products under the export control regime.

Under these circumstances, India cannot lag in such developments, the sources added.

“It is a challenge for all of us to allow the fast spread of the digital world, at the same time ensure security,” Ravi Shankar Prasad, Electronics and Information Technology Minister, tweeted recently, highlighting the importance of security in the cyber space.

Source : Thehindubusinessline


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