India set to create Cyber Security Authority at par with Space and Atomic organisations

India set to create Cyber Security Authority at par with Space and Atomic organisations

NEW DELHI - India is set to create a federal authority amid growing apprehensions of hacks, cyber attacks, and data breaches even as the government pushes ahead with its vision of Digital India and as more financial transactions happen electronically.

The draft report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance said that the authority should be at par with the Space and Atomic Energy departments and report directly to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The new body, which will develop “comprehensive security standards, (a) technical guidance roadmap and institutionalise a comprehensive risk management framework”, should have an adequate budget to undertake the complex and challenging task, the panel added, according to documents seen by Hindustan Times.

A part of this job is currently performed by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), an office within the ministry of electronics and information technology. It is the nodal agency to deal with cyber security threats.

“There is an immediate need for such a high-profile body. Apart from having generic policies and agencies, the country needs vertical body, which will only look at specific issues related to critical infrastructure. This is a right step in right direction,” said Pawan Duggal, cyber law and security expert.

As per an estimate by the RBI, 16,468 cyber crimes related to ATMs, credit and debit cards and net banking took place in 2015-16, up from 13,083 the previous year. The country has witnessed a boom in digital transactions after Prime Minister Narendra Modi scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes in November 2016.

The panel, headed by Congress’ Veerappa Moily, has also pitched for a “sound data protection law” to ensure that users and individuals have control and ownership of the data they have shared with foreign or domestic entities. The report is likely to be tabled in Parliament during the ongoing winter session.