Government of India has launched a portal (eSahaj) to facilitate individuals and private companies in seeking security clearance for setting up businesses in certain sensitive sectors. The online ‘e-Sahaj’ portal, launched by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, will strike a healthy balance between meeting the imperatives of national security and facilitating ease of doing business and promoting investment in the country, an official statement said.
The Home Ministry is the nodal authority for granting security clearances in certain sensitive sectors before licence, permit, permission, contract etc is issued to companies, bidders, individuals by the administrative ministry. The objective of national security clearance is to evaluate potential security threats, including economic threats, and provide risk assessment before clearing investment and project proposals in key sectors.
The portal will facilitate an applicant to submit application online and also to view the status of his application from time to time, the statement said. The Union home secretary said with the introduction of online portal, the process has become standardised. It will be faster, transparent and easy to monitor.
Various functionaries can access applications and documents online and take timely decisions, he said. Gauba said the home ministry had recently streamlined the security clearance procedures and issued a fresh set of guidelines. A committee of officers meets every week in the home ministry for timely decision on security clearance proposals.
The home ministry has cleared about 1,100 cases of security clearance in one year. Although the given timeline is 90 days, the ministry strives to decide security clearance cases in 60 days (average time per case in 2018 is 53 days), which is being reduced further. In 2016, there were 209 cases which were over 6 months old; in 2017, this came down to 154 cases and to 47 cases in 2018.