THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 20 February 2020 (Restructure institutional structures managing cyber security (IndianExpress))

Restructure institutional structures managing cyber security (IndianExpress)

Mains Paper 3: Security
Prelims level: Cyberattacks
Mains level: Strengthening cybersecurity and preventing cyberattacks


  • According to a report by the Data Security Council of India, India ranks second in the list of countries affected the most by cyberattacks between 2016 and 2018.
  • There was a recent cyber-attack on the Kudankulam nuclear power plant. Hackers were also targeting the Indian Space Research Organisation as it was working on its moon mission.
  • These attacks have pointed towards a larger problem that must be addressed in terms of India’s internet governance.
  • There is need to clarify the institutions responsible for managing and addressing rising cyber threats.
  • This could then influence and inform India’s response with respect to rules governing cyberspace which so far remained modest and restrained.

Why We Need Restructuring?

  • India’s institutional apparatus on cybersecurity is diffused and fragmented. Several ministries and agencies manage cybersecurity.
  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Defence, the National Security Council Secretariat and the National Technical Research Organisation have their own cybersecurity units.
  • Additional specialised units include the Computer Emergency Response Team, the National Critical Information Infrastructure and the National Cyber Coordination Centre.
  • So far, Command and control has not risen as a policy priority in cyberspace.
  • Absence of a unified agency has affected India’s ability to take a principled stand on the issue of global governance of cyberspace. Till now, India has not unveiled a clear position regarding responsible state behaviour in cyberspace.


  • Unless India bolsters its domestic cyber-infrastructure, the global positions it takes will be broad and not targeted at preventing rising cyber-attacks.
  • A more robust cybersecurity posture could reveal India’s strategy when it comes to both defensive and offensive cyber operations to thwart adversaries.
  • The global cybersecurity space is in flux due to different positions taken by advance economies like US, Japan, EU, China and Russia. A new unified cybersecurity agency could provide India an opportunity to emerge as a leader in the global governance of cyberspace.
  • The Indian government is in the process of unveiling a Cybersecurity Strategy Policy (2020-25). The upcoming policy provides an opportunity to bring out much needed reform while bringing its domestic policy in line with its global aspirations.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the New Umbrella Entity (NUE), consider the following statements:
1. RBI has proposed to set up a new pan-India new umbrella entity (NUE) or entities focussing on retail payment systems with a minimum paid-up capital of Rs 500 crore.
2. No single promoter or promoter group should have more than 40 per cent investment in the capital of the entity.

Which of the statements given above are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) None of the above

Ans: C
Mains Questions:

Q.1) Do you think there is need to restructure institutional structures managing cybersecurity in India? Justify your position.