The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay Monday launched a dedicated National Center of Excellence in Technology for Internal Security (NCETIS) to provide a research and development platform for technologies concerning India’s security forces.
The government-funded project will focus on handling modern warfare techniques, enhancing intelligence services and improving internal security, in the face of rising terror threats. It is initially working on detectors for land mines, cyber security, cryptology, video surveillance, image processing, monitoring of unmanned vehicles and biometric security.
IIT Bombay professors are currently working on certain projects that can help security agencies in surveillance. According to IIT Bombay Professor Soumyo Mukherjee, work on unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance and live reportage without a person required to control it had reached its final stages.
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The NCETIS has been in the planning stage for three years now, and will take forward the ‘Digital India’ campaign, floated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Funded by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), its budget estimate is Rs 83 crore for next five years. According to Professor Abhay Karandikar, the NCETIS coordinator, it will discuss security gaps with various agencies — such as Mumbai police, CRPF, CISF — and conduct research to provide the required technology. “The technology developed will result in tangible products. It will be developed by the concerned industry and can be directly used by security forces,”said Karandikar.
He said the CRPF has discussed issues of hidden land mines in Naxal hit areas for which advanced ground penetrating devices are required.
Professor Girish Kumar said, “We have developed such devices that work by assessing frequencies. Through this center, security forces can get in touch and use the technology.” Alok Joshi, chairman, National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) said the current objective is to “prevent online space for terror activities”.
“In cyber space, we need more work. Currently our knowledge on it is very limited,” he added.
The centre will focus on cyber espionage, data security and digital weapons. J S Deepak, secretary of DeitY, admitted these are core challenges for the government.
Atul Kulkarni, JCP (Crime), who was present at the launch, told The Indian Express, “Our existing cyber forensics is very poor. We need technology upgradation. Focus in Mumbai is to improve cyber security which is not only localised but had crossed international borders.” He added the center will be helpful in increasing data analytics and data mining capacity in the police force.
According to IIT Bombay Director Devang Khakhar, regular discussions will be held to tackle technologyrequirements.Working on the lines of Digital India, a ‘flexible technology’ project has been launched at IIT Kanpur, and another in Bangalore for technology development. The Bombay IIT centre will be the third center that will focus on digital India.