New Delhi,Manan Kumar: Tipped by the PMO that “Make in India” could open floodgates of companies wanting to do business in India which requires quick vetting process, Union home ministry is all set to propose changes in the current arbitrary system of providing security clearances to companies, especially foreign companies, and replace it with an objectively laid out policy-based system.
Prior security clearances are a prerequisite to open business in critical sectors like defense, telecom, ports, border roads, explosives, arms, aviation, foreign financial institutions, including foreign banks and all those entities who require clearance from foreign investment promotion board (FIPB).
Currently, there are no set norms, code or format to give security clearance to any company and the decision to give security clearance to set up business is given on case to case basis and could be contentious as it heavily depends on the discretion of a single bureaucrat who takes a decision on the basis of reports forwarded by the intelligence agencies.
Highly placed sources said the Union home ministry is working out on a draft policy paper and will soon bring out Policy Guidelines for Assessment of Proposals for National Security Clearance that will lay down procedures for security clearance in detail and make decision for security clearances transparent and unambiguous.
“The system right now is based on convention or precedent, there is no written prescribed format for security clearance. The government wants to make it completely objective and its reduce discretionary powers as officials can genuinely go wrong as they do not remember all the precedents and can also be corrupt,” said a senior official.
The system that is being evolved will have a well laid out system to do an objective analysis of a company seeking security clearance to open business whether it is totally free from crimes like terror funding, money laundering, espionage, organized crime, drug syndicate, Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) as these matters have serious implications on national security, sources said.
Besides, the new policy guidelines will also device parameters to check if a particular company has been indulged in any kind of scam or corruption and financial charges of serious nature.
The guidelines that are expected to be ready by the month end will be forwarded to security agencies — IB and R&AW – for comments and suggestions and enacted.
Though the need to devise such a mechanism was being felt from a long time, the home ministry got serious about the issue when it discovered that a German company, Louisenthal that was selling currency note paper to the Reserve Bank of India was also selling raw currency notes to Pakistan which is involved in a producing fake Indian currency on similar paper.
Sources said though there will largely be one guideline for security clearances but its parameters will slightly different sector wise depending on the sensitivity of a sector.