Central Intelligence And Investigative Agencies of India - A Brief Overview

This article briefly covers details on the Central Intelligence and Investigative Agencies of India. It lucidly covers details on external intelligence wing-like Research and Analysis Wing(R&AW), Internal Intelligence Wing named Intelligence Bureau (IB), relatively recently formed National Investigative Agency (NIA), which was formed after Mumbai 26/11 attacks for counter-terrorism purpose. 

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National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC)

In 2012, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had given the approval to set up the National Counter-Terrorism Center. It is proposed on the base of the anti-terrorism unit set up in the National counter-terrorism centre of the USA. The chief of the National Counter-Terrorism Center will be a Director who will be reporting to the Director Intelligence Bureau and the Home Secretary. It will draw its powers from the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 1967. It will set up small offices crosswise over states to gather real-time information. It additionally has the ability to look for data, including archives, report and digital data from any security agency and organization. They can conduct and raids without the prior consent of the respective states. The suggestion has met with criticism from the Chief Ministers of different states as they see this as the means of deteriorating India’s federalism and centre-state relations.

The office of NCTC is not yet established in India because the states objected to NCTC on grounds of being “anti-federal and an encroachment upon the state’s “law and order” domain.

Intelligence Bureau (IB)

India’s intelligence Bureau of investigation is a reputed and established intelligence agency. The intelligence bureau is authoritatively controlled by the Ministry of Home affairs. The Director IB (DIB), who is a member of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), is the chief of Intelligence Bureau. It is considered as the internal news agency responsible for monitoring all aspects of governance. It is entrusted with counter- intelligence terrorism. Intelligence Bureau closely monitors developments relating to parliamentary undertakings and report back to cabinet secretariat. The Special Enquiry and Surveillance Unit (SES) of the intelligence bureau handle most of this work. The current director of the Intelligence Bureau is Arvind Kumar, who is serving since 26 June 2019.

Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)

In the beginning, Research and Analysis Wing used to appoint people only from the Intelligence Bureau, Indian Police Services, and Indian military or revenue departments. Prior to 1968, the Intelligence Bureau is responsible for India’s internal and external intelligence. Thereafter India, established a dedicated, RAW- Research and Analysis Wing founded mainly to keep an eye on the actions and movements Pakistan and China.

The Chief of the RAW is entitled as Secretary (Research) in the Cabinet Secretariat. It is only answerable to the Prime Minister and the Joint Intelligence Committee.  It is not liable to the parliament of India on any issues and the same provision keeps it out of reach of the Right to Information (RTI) act. It monitors the political and military development in the neighbouring countries, which have a direct bearing on India’s national security and in the genesis of its foreign policy.

Samant Goel is R&AW’s current Chief. The head of R&AW is designated Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat, and is under the direct command of the Prime Minister, and reports on an administrative basis to the Cabinet Secretary, who reports to the Prime Minister.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the principal investigative police agency in India. It was established in 1941 as the Special Police Establishment, entrusted with domestic security. It is an elite force which plays an indispensable role in public life and guaranteeing the health of the national economy. It is functioning under the Ministry of Personnel, Pension and Public Grievances is the nodal police agency in India that coordinates investigation on behalf of Interpol Member countries. It is also occupied in the compilation of criminal intelligence pertaining to three of its main areas of operation- Anti-Corruption, Economic Crimes, and Special Crimes. It may inspect:

  • The cases that are fundamentally against Central Government employees or concerning undertakings of the Central Government
  • The cases in which the monetary interests of the Central Government are included.
  • The instances of deception, fraud, cheating, misappropriation relating to companies in which huge funds are included and comparable different situations when carried out by organized gangs or expert lawbreakers having ramifications in a few States.
  • The cases having interstate and international consequences and including a few official agencies.
  • The cases relating to the ruptures of Central Laws with the enforcement of which the Government of India is mainly concerned.

MAC is a multi-agency centre for Counter-Terrorism formed during the Kargil War, whose mandate is to share terrorism-related inputs on a day to day basis. It was created at Delhi and Subsidiary, Multi-Agency Centers (SMACs) in different states comprising representatives from various security agencies, for streamlining intelligence efforts.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) additional director Praveen Sinha, a 1988-batch Gujarat cadre IPS, has been appointed acting chief of the agency till a decision on a new director is taken to succeed Rishi Kumar Shukla who retired on Wednesday after a two-year fixed stint. You can read in detail about the Central Bureau of Investigation on the linked page.

National Investigative Agencies (NIA)

The National Investigate Agency was created by an Act of the Parliament of India in 2008. It was created after the Mumbai Terror Attack with the provisions for taking up particular cases under particular Acts for investigation and prosecution. It may be believed to strife with the duty that is solely to the states; however, it can’t be definitively said that the Agency is unconstitutional. It was not an Agency to deal with offences under all the laws. This agency only deals with eight laws as mentioned below:

  1.    The Atomic Energy Act, 1962
  2.    The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967
  3.    The Anti-Hijacking Act, 1982
  4.    The Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Civil Aviation Act, 1982
  5.    The SAARC Convention (Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1993
  6.    The Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002
  7.    The Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005
  8.    Offences under—Chapter VI of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 489-A to 489-E (both inclusive) of the Indian Penal Code.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) inaugurated a new branch office in Jharkhand on November 5th 2020. The jurisdiction of the NIA Ranchi branch extends to the states of Bihar and Jharkhand. Y C Modi, the current Director-General/Chief of NIA inaugurated the office. Further details on National Investigation Agency NIA are available on the given link.

National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID)

The National Intelligence Grid or NATGRID was proposed as a robust mechanism to track suspects and prevent terrorist attacks with real-time data and access to classified information post the terrorist attack on Mumbai in 2008. It is the integrated intelligence framework connecting the databases of security agencies of the Government of India to gather inclusive patterns of intelligence that can be accessed by intelligence agencies. These data can be accessed by central agencies, including RAW, Intelligence Bureau, CBI, etc. The office of NATGRID is attached to the Ministry of Home Affairs. It faced opposition on charges of possible infringement of privacy and spillage of confidential individual data.

As of 2019, NATGRID is headed by an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Ashish Gupta. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 5 February 2020 announced in Parliament that Project NATGRID with all its required physical infrastructures to be completed by the end of March 2020. The data recovery center of the NATGRID has been constructed in Bengaluru and its headquarters is nearing completion in Delhi.

National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB)

National Crime Record Bureau is to empower Indian Police with Information Technology to allow them to efficiently enforce the law and perk up public service delivery. It is responsible for collecting and dissecting crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The current Director of NCRB is Ramphal Pawar (IAS).

Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)

Narcotics Control Bureau is the supreme coordinating agency, chief law enforcement, and intelligence agency of India accounts for battling drug trafficking and the mishandling of unlawful and illegal substances. As indicated in Article 47 of the Indian Constitution, it guides the State to endeavour to bring about the exclusion of the consumption, except for medicinal purposes, of intoxicating drugs harmful to wellbeing. The Director-General of NCB is an officer of the Indian Police Service or the Indian Revenue Service. Headquarters is located in Delhi. The agency executive or Director General of Narcotics Control Bureau is Rakesh Asthana (IPS) he took charge in 2019.

Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)

Directorate of Revenue Intelligence is an Indian intelligence agency the Central Board of Excise and Customs in the Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue. It enforces the prohibition of smuggling of drugs, gold, diamonds, electronic gadgets, foreign currency, counterfeit Indian currency, etc. Shri Balesh Kumar is serving as the Director General of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence. 

Bureau of Police Research and Investigation (BPR&D)

The Bureau of Police Research and Investigation (BPR&D) was set up in 1970 to identify the requirements and issues of police in the nation, to embrace proper research activities and contemplates and to propose strategy choices to rising challenges. It was also ordered to stay informed concerning the most recent advancement in the field of science and technology. It has also organized training programs for Prison Officers on various subjects like Human rights in Prison management, personality development etc. The Director-General V.S.K. Kaumudi, IPS is serving the office of Bureau of Police Research and Investigation (BPR&D).

Central Intelligence And Investigative Agencies of India:-Download PDF Here

Also, See:

Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF)
Various Internal Security Forces In India and their Mandate
Understanding the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)

The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions on Central Intelligence And Investigative Agencies of India


Q 1. Which are the key Central Intelligence And Investigative Agencies of India?

Ans. The main Central Intelligence And Investigative Agencies of India include:

  • National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC)
  • Intelligence Bureau (IB)
  • Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)
  • Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
  • National Investigative Agencies (NIA)
  • National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID)
  • National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB)

Also, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Bureau of Police Research and Investigation (BPR&D) are a part of this list.


Q 2. What is the function of intelligence agencies in India?

Ans. An intelligence agency is a government agency responsible for the collection, analysis, and exploitation of information in support of law enforcement, national security, military, and foreign policy objectives.

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