Union MoS Tourism (I/C) Alphons Kannanthanam during an interview with IANS in New Delhi on Sept 18, 2017.. Image Source: IANS/Bidesh Manna

New Delhi, Jan 19 : Securing the nation's cyberspace is vital and the 'Cyber Surakshit Bharat' initiative will aim to ensure that Aadhaar data is safe and protected, Union Tourism Minister K.J. Alphons said here on Friday.

"India is home to over 118 crore Aadhaar accounts. The government has transferred subsidies worth 2.40 lakh crore to the Jan Dhan accounts linked with Aaddaar. We must ensure that our systems are protected and our data is secured," Alphons said at an event here.

"Keeping this concern in mind, the government has launched the 'Cyber Surakshit Bharat' with a primary objective to keep our data safe and protected," he added.

The initiative, launched by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), will spread awareness about cybercrime and building capacity for safety measures for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and frontline IT staff across government departments.

The founding partners of the consortium are leading IT companies like Microsoft, Intel, Wipro, Red Hat and Dimension Data. The knowledge partners include Cert-In, NIC, NASSCOM and the FIDO Alliance, CISCO and consultancy firms Deloitte and EY.

The initiative will include an awareness programme on the importance of cybersecurity and a series of workshops on best practices and enablement of the officials with cybersecurity tools to manage and mitigate cyber threats.

"With a billion-plus mobilephones linked with a billion-plus Aadhaar connections and a billion-plus bank accounts, we are definitely going to face billions and billions of threats, which are growing and becoming more and more sophisticated," said Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, MeitY.

"I believe that the consortium approach is a great way to move forward and I hope that more capable companies will join hands and help us in this endeavour," he added.

Alarmed over Aadhaar data breach threats, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) recently announced some measures to safeguard the data, like generating Virtual IDs (VIDs) along with a face recognition system.

The inaugural ceremony was followed by the first national workshop for central and state government CISOs.

"We invest over $1 billion every year globally in this area. Here in India, we launched a Cybersecurity Engagement Centre in October 2016 to build local capabilities and are now proud to be part of this important initiative," said Anant Maheshwari, President-Microsoft India.

"As part of this initiative, we will bring the best experts to help train and create capability to deal with the latest cybersecurity challenges," he added.

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