Ansari for Parliamentary intelligence oversight committee
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Last Updated: Tuesday, January 19, 2010, 21:01
New Delhi: Making a strong case for political oversight of the country's intelligence machinery, Vice President Hamid Ansari on Tuesday mooted a Parliamentary committee on intelligence which can look into its "financial and performance accountability."

Taking the debate on the planned revamp of the country's security a step further, Ansari pressed for a calibrated openness of the intelligence machinery to ensure oversight and accountability.

He also spoke of the need to strike a balance between secrecy, openness and efficacy on a continuous basis besides ensuring greater coordination to maximise results in complex situations.

"There is no reason why a democratic system like India should not have a Standing Committee of Parliament on intelligence that could function at least on the pattern of other Standing Committees (of Parliament)," Ansari said, adding this was necessary to ensure that government policy is carried out effectively within the boundaries of law,

Ansari was speaking at the RN Kao Memorial lecture held in memory of the founding father of the country's external intelligence machinery -- Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

The former diplomat said whether the openness and public discussion would compromise the secrecy essential for intelligence needs to be examined carefully but the legislature, nevertheless, is the organ of the state that allocates funds and is, therefore, entitled to insist on financial and performance accountability.

"The time-honoured formula of need to know has to be modified by the requirement of the need to share," Ansari said.


First Published: Tuesday, January 19, 2010, 21:01

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