National Security Directive on Telecom Sector

The Cabinet Committee on Security recently announced the National Security Directive on Telecommunication sector. It will mandate service providers to purchase equipment from trusted sources. It has been framed in the perspective of national security. Under the provisions, the Government of India will declare a list of trusted sources and trusted products to be installed in the Telecom network of the country.

About the Directives

  • The National Cyber Security Coordinator will device a methodology to designate trusted products.
  • A committee is to be formed under the leadership of Deputy National Security Advisor. It will be responsible to approve the list of trusted sources and products. The committee will consist of members from different ministries and industrial experts. The committee will be called as the National Security Committee on Telecom.
  • The directives will list designated sources from whom no procurement shall be done. It will be designed in such a way that it is not directed at any nation.
  • The directives do not require mandatory replacement of existing equipment that are already inducted in the network of Telecommunications Service Provider.
  • The Department of Telecommunications will certify the Telecom Service Providers as “Indian Trusted sources” if they meet the requirements of the Preferential Market Access scheme. The Preferential Market Access scheme provides weightage to telecom gears developed and manufactured by indigenous companies.

Background

India is one of the top three countries in the world that is facing cyber-attacks. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology recently announced in the Parliament that till August 2020, the business entities, governments and citizens faced more than seven lakh cyber-attacks. In 2019, India lost a sum of Rs 1.24 lakh crores due to cyber-crime.

It is important to secure the Telecom industry as it is the backbone of all other infrastructure sector in the country such as transport, banking, power, finance.

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