New Delhi, July 23: The budget allocation for National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) rose 10 times to Rs 333.58 crore in 2017-18 from the previous fiscal with activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Friday claiming that it was the year in which Rs 100 crore was paid to Israeli company NSO which makes the controversial spyware Pegasus.
The NSCS advices the Prime Minister on key strategic and security issues and reports to the National Security Adviser.
Bhushan's remarks came as the country is rocked by the revelation of a leaked database, which claimed that Opposition leaders, journalists activists, law enforcement officials and Constitutional authorities among others were potential targets for surveillance using Pegasus.
"In 2016-17, NSA’s budget was Rs 33.17 crore. Next year the budget increased 10 times to Rs 333 crore because Rs 300 crore was added under new head 'cyber security R&D'. This is the year when NSO was paid Rs 100s of crore for cyber hacking of Opposition, journalists, judges, Election Commissioner, activists using Pegasus! Wow," Bhushan tweeted.
It appears that Bhushan is referring to NSCS as the NSA's budget comes under it.
The allocation for 2016-17 was Rs 33.17 crore, which was later revised to Rs 81.03 crore. However, the actual spending was Rs 39.09 crore.
The allocation rose to Rs 333.58 crore in the next fiscal which was further revised to Rs 168 crore. However, the actual expenditure was only Rs 61.18 crore.
In 2018-19 fiscal, which preceeded the April-May Lok Sabha elections, the NSCS budget allocationwas Rs 303.83 crore, which was revised to Rs 841.73 crore while the actual spending was Rs 812.32 crore.