Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Pegasus reflects in NSCS budget: Prashant Bhushan

New Delhi: The question raised by Dr. Subrahmanya Swamy was reiterated by famous advocate Prashant Bhushan on Friday. The budget allocation for the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) increased ten times from Rs. 33.17 crore in 2016-17 to Rs. 333.58 crore in 2017-18, said Bhushan. It was the year when the NSO Group of Israel, which has developed Pegasus spyware, was paid hundreds of crores for snooping on several important individuals. The government had failed hundreds of crores for snooping by cyber hacking opposition leaders, judges, journalists, Election Commissioners and rights activists using Pegasus spyware, he tweeted.

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The expenditure budget statements for the relevant years, the allocation had shot up by ten times but the spending was less than double that of the previous year. The actual allocation for 2016-17 was only Rs. 33.17 crore. Next year the budget increased by ten times to Rs. 333 crore because Rs.300 crore was added under new head ‘cyber security R&D.’ The 2016-17 budget was revised to Rs. 81.03. But then, the actual spending was shown as Rs. 39.09 crore. Next year the allocation suddenly went up to Rs. 333.58 crore but the revised estimates kept the likely expenditure at Rs.168 crore. The actual expenditure Rs.61.18 crore. It was only in 2018-19 that the allocation shot up to Rs. 303.83 crore for meeting the administrative expenditures. The revised estimates presented later were much higher to the tune of Rs. 814.73 crore. Out of this only Rs. 125.89 crore was revenue expenditure while the balance of Rs. 715.89 crore was shown as capital expenditure.  The ten-fold rise in NSCS budget was meant to buy Pegasus services, alleged Prashant Bhushan.

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K. Ramachandra Murthy
K. Ramachandra Murthy
Founder & Editor

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