Cybersecurity is an essential part of national security and the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged to make it robust, Interior Minister Amit Shah said on Monday.
Speaking at a national conference on cybersecurity and national security, Shah stressed the need for public awareness, saying it was “most important” for cybersecurity in the country.
“We all know the importance of building a cyber-secure India for the development of the nation. In this day and age, India’s development is impossible without cybersecurity,” Shah said.
“At the Prime Minister’s initiative, India is leading the way in all areas and the use of technology has been promoted at all levels,” the interior minister said. “But if cybersecurity isn’t guaranteed, that strength can become a huge challenge for us.”
Stressing the importance of public awareness, Shah said, “Technocrats can research security devices all they want, but if people don’t know, they can’t be used.”
“It is imperative that every citizen understands the challenges of cyberspace so that a cyber-secure India can be created,” he added.
The minister also spoke about India’s digital initiatives such as direct power transfers and the United Payments Interface system, saying the country’s strengths could become challenges if proper steps are not taken to protect it.
“It is the Prime Minister’s vision to bring technology and the internet to every Indian. There are almost 80 million internet users in India. Our strength can become a challenge if we don’t focus on empowerment and raising awareness among citizens,” he said.
“Digital initiatives like the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme have eliminated corruption and ensured that every Indian receives compensation directly in their bank account. But the scheme has also raised the challenge of cyber fraud and cyber attacks. On the way to a digital revolution, we must empower our citizens,” Minister Shah said.
The government has received nearly three lakh complaints of cybercrime and two lakh of social media-related crimes since it launched a portal – cybercrime.gov.in – to report such cases three years ago, Shah said.
Shah also claimed that some nations have deployed cyber armies against India. “(Others who) don’t want to see our country safe… are trying different types of cyber attacks,” he said.
The center is already working on a national cybersecurity strategy that proposes a separate legal framework for cyberspace and the creation of a pinnacle body to handle threats, responses and complaints. However, the plan has been pending with the government for over a year, HT reported on February 23.
Dubbed the National Cyber Security Strategy, 2021, the policy emphasizes the need for a regulatory framework to address emerging technology challenges.
At present, responding to cyber security threats can be done under the Information Technology Act and the Indian Penal Code.
Shah also urged ministries to start planning for 100 years of India’s independence. “It doesn’t matter who will lead them,” he said. “But all ministries must start working for India to reach great heights and plan for its 100 years of independence.”
“Beer maven. Creator. Tv fanatic. Internet scholar. Award-winning web junkie. Avid alcohol expert. Friendly writer. Gamer.”