Right to Privacy Ruling: Intelligence Agencies That May be Affected
Intelligence agencies in India are often established by executive order and most of them do not have clearly established oversight mechanisms other than the departments to which they report.
Picture for Representation. (Getty Images)
New Delhi: With the Supreme Court's ruling that the Right to Privacy is a fundamental right, intelligence agencies may be affected. In India, surveillance is carried out by central intelligence agencies. There are at least 16 different such agencies. Intelligence agencies in India are often established by executive order and most of them do not have clearly established oversight mechanisms other than the departments to which they report.
For example, CBI and RAW report to the Prime Minister's Office, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence reports to the Finance Ministry and the Military Intelligence agencies report to the Ministry of Defence. As such, intelligence agencies do not come under the purview of Parliament or the Right to Information Act, and their functioning is not subject to audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General, though many agencies are funded from the Consolidated Fund of India. The following is a list of Indian intelligence agencies:
National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO)
The NTRO is a technical intelligence agency that answers to the National Security Advisor (NSA) and the Prime Minister’s Office. It develops technology in “aviation and remote sensing, data gathering and processing, cyber security, cryptology systems, strategic hardware and software development and strategic monitoring”.
Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)
Established in 1968, RAW is the primary foreign intelligence gathering agency of India. It was set up after intelligence failure during the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1965 India-Pakistan war. In addition to counter-intelligence, the RAW also engages in counter-terror operations. Inputs gathered by RAW also play a major role in policy formation.
Electronics and Technical Services (ETS)
The ETS is the electronic intelligence gathering arm of RAW.
Intelligence Bureau (IB)
The IB predates even RAW and was set up in the year 1887 by the British Indian Government. It is the primary internal intelligence agency of India. The IB is tasked with gathering intelligence inputs from within India, particularly from border areas.
Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)
The NCB is the primary drug enforcement agency of India. Its primary responsibility is to fight the trafficking of illegal drugs in the country. It was set up in 1986.
Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)
The DRI is the Indian agency responsible for investigating and countering smuggling operations.
Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB)
The CEIB is responsible for gathering intelligence on economic and financial offences.
Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI)
The CBHI gathers information on “broad range of indicators related to health status and health services in the country”. It is under the purview of the Directorate General of Health Services.
Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
The DIA, set up in 1961, is responsible for collecting and coordinating intelligence for the Armed Forces of India.
Joint Cipher Bureau (JCB)
This agency, which works in close coordination with both IB and RAW, is responsible for the encryption of sensitive intelligence data.
Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID)
The SID has intelligence officers from all three wings of the armed forces and it carries out monitoring of military links of other countries.
Directorate of Air Intelligence (DAI)
The DAI carries out “air and satellite reconnaissance missions”.
Directorate of Navy Intelligence (DNI)
This is the intelligence wing of the Indian Navy.
Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI)
This is the intelligence wing of the Indian Army.
Directorate of Income Tax (Intelligence and Criminal Investigation)
This is the intelligence arm of the Income Tax Department.
Directorate General of Income Tax Investigation (DGITI)
The DGITI is responsible for investigating tax law violations and it answers to the Ministry of Finance.
Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC)
The JIC is a coordinating agency that analyzes data from the IB, RAW, DMI, DNI and DAI.
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