Online tools to use foreign investment clearance

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh

In a bid to further reduce the bottlenecks in giving security clearances to foreign investment in sensitive sectors, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday asked officials to make use of online systems for processing the proposals.

His direction came during a review meeting in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) even as officials have managed to bring down the average duration of clearance of a proposal from 120 days four years ago to 53 days at present.

While he appreciated the efforts in expediting security clearance of proposals in sensitive sectors, an official statement said Singh directed officials to further reduce the clearance time by making use of online systems in coordination with administrative ministries for processing the proposals. "This would further improve efficiency and monitoring," Singh told the meeting.

Earlier, the Finance Ministry had flagged concerns over the queries raised by the MHA and had complained that it was hampering the investment in the country. However, the Home Ministry then countered it saying it gave security clearance to more than 5,000 investment proposals in the last four years.

In 2015, the MHA had put in place a new security clearance policy, which directed that all security clearance matters forwarded by fellow ministries should be cleared within 4-6 weeks.

During the meeting, Singh also expressed his concern over the misuse of social media and directed to strengthen the capabilities of law enforcement agencies to be able to meet the challenges posed by it.

Cautioning against the new challenges being posed by crimes in the cyberspace and called for effective measures to improve cybersecurity, he directed the officials to expedite the launch of online cybercrime reporting portal as there was a rise in circulation of child pornography and other obscene material.

"This will enable affected people in states/Union Territories to lodge complaints which will be investigated by the respective law enforcement agencies and action taken for removal of such content," he said.

He also batted for greater vigilance against evolving cyber threats and called for regular cyber auditing of IT infrastructure of all organisations under the MHA.

While directing officials for the upgradation and updation of National Information Security Policy and Guidelines (NISPG) for the government sector, he also expressed concern over financial frauds being committed on gullible public by phone call fraudsters and stressed on increasing public awareness and strengthening of institutional framework for checking such frauds. 

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Online tools to use foreign investment clearance

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