Digital India Project Of Narendra Modi Government Lacks Cyber Security Capabilities

Praveen-DalalNarendra Modi led Government has taken many good steps to bring reforms in India. The harbinger of all these present and future reforms is the Digital India project that the Narendra Modi Government is pursuing very dedicatedly and religiously. We at Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) have always been very vocal regarding e-governance and information and communication technology (ICT) related policy issues in India. Whether it is the National E-Governance Plan (NEGP) of the Congress Government or the Digital India project of BJP Government, neither of them is free from shortcomings and drawbacks. We do not wish to stall reforms through unproductive and unnecessary criticism but we believe in genuine, fearless and productive criticisms so that limitations and shortcomings of various projects and policies can be discussed and eliminated in a time bound manner. Continuing this practice, we have expressed in the past that Digital India project is suffering from various shortcomings and it is heading for troubled waters. For reasons best known to Modi Government, little attention was given to these crucial issues. Two of such crucial issues pertain to protection of Civil Liberties and ensuring Cyber Security for the Digital Infrastructure of India.

There is no second opinion that Cyber Security Infrastructure in India is not up to the mark. We have no dedicated cyber security laws in India nor have we ensured that cyber breaches are reported promptly and to the appropriate authorities. Cyber security of banks in India is pathetic and despite many reminders from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in this regard, banks have done little to secure banking infrastructures. Critical infrastructures of India are wide open to national and international cyber criminals and crackers to be exploited at the most crucial and sensitive times. Sensitive Government computers are frequently breached by crackers and cyber criminals with little detection and deterrence. India has no answer to the sophisticated malware that are easily defeating the meager cyber security measures adopted by Indian Government.

India is facing increased cyber attacks and cyber espionage events and we have to come up with robust and resilient cyber security measures to tackle the same. We also need a techno legal Cyber Espionage Policy of India to safeguard our economic and military interests. At the same time we need a Tri Service Cyber Command for Armed Forces of India to manage cyberspace as a field of conflict. We also need the Cyber Warfare Policy of India (PDF) and Critical Infrastructure Protection in India (PDF) that are still missing as on date. It is really surprising that the all powerful Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has done little to salvage this situation.

In a latest cyber breach, whose Authorship Attribution is to be ascertained beyond doubt, Project 75 has been leaked that pertains to Scorpene submarine. Irrespective of what Indian Government and the French manufacturer DCNS says, this is a very serious situation and is a clear case of breach of National Security. There is no gain in downplaying this episode as closing eyes is not equivalent to robust security. Indian Critical Infrastructures are continuously targeted and we must take this aspect very seriously. This is more so when we are connecting virtually everything through digital means under the Digital India project. We are attracted to fancy concepts like Internet of Things (IoT), Machine to Machine (M2M), Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Nanotechnology, Smart Cities, etc with no concern for and expertise of Cyber Security, Cyber Forensics, Cyber Crimes Investigation, E-Discovery, etc. The very foundation of Digital India is based upon insecure cyberspace and Narendra Modi Government must not take these issues lightly.

Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) has been managing many Techno Legal initiatives that can come handy to Indian Government. We are also providing our Techno Legal suggestions for International Legal Issues of Cyber Security so that Indian Government is well aware of International Cyber Security best practices and developments. We strongly recommend that the Narendra Modi Government must ensure robust and resilient Cyber Security for the Digital India project for the larger benefit of all stakeholders.

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