The Indian government has launched preparations for solid action against cyber crime across the country, beginning with Jamtara, a district in the Jharkhand state but infamous as the epicentre for online frauds.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, which controls India’s federal police, is preparing a comprehensive roadmap for the action, according to a report.
Its focus area initially would be Jamtara, which alone contributes for more than 50%of phishing mails in the country and has a large number of less-educated youth engaged in online frauds.
A gang based in Jamtara had once duped even Amitabh Bachchan, the mega filmstar who lives in Mumbai. The notoriety of these scamsters even got them an eponymous web series, highlighting the cyber crime exploits of the youth of Jamtara.
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While there has been a rise in cyber crimes across the country as more and more people are taking to smartphones and online modes of fund transfers, what has alarmed the Indian government is that the network of the scamsters is spread far and wide and they are now expanding their footprint beyond Jamtara.
“They target people in all states and are responsible for almost 60% of the phishing cases in India. The Home Ministry wants to understand how mostly uneducated youth manage to commit cyber frauds and will also analyse a plan to rehabilitate unemployed youth involved in cybercrimes,” the report stated.
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For this purpose, the MHA has launched an on-ground analysis, starting from ‘phishing capital’ Jamtara, to plan a roadmap aimed at addressing cybercrimes evolving through such attacks.
Senior officials of the ministry visited cities infamous for cyber crooks — Jamtara, Deoghar, Giridih and Bokaro — and met top officials of the state such as DG of Jharkhand Police, according to the report.
What’s worth mentioning is that the officials involved in the job will not limit their probe to these locations but will visit a few more places to understand the situation on the ground and plan a roadmap.
“It is a pan-India task, which will help the central government address the issue of related cybercrime,” the report added.
The focus of the ministry is to understand how uneducated youth are able to dupe people remotely and pull off such techincal frauds. The ministry may also get a sense of if these youths engaged in cyber crimes could be rehabilitated with alternative career options.
The government, as of now, is hoping to provide them rehabilitation for long-term solutions because sending them to jail might only deteriorate the situation and initiate them into a hardcore world of crime, according to officials.
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“We have informed Home Ministry officials about state concerns. We need dedicated funds to set up a system to fight cybercrimes. Also, MHA has plans for rehabilitation and enrolling these unemployed youth in some other work as most of them are from very poor backgrounds,” a senior official of Jharkhand said, according to the report.
As per the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), a total of 454, 472, 280 and 138 phishing incidents were observed in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 (up to June), respectively.
Measures Already Taken by Govt
In order to strengthen the mechanism to deal with cybercrimes in a comprehensive and coordinated manner, the Indian government has already taken steps for spreading awareness such as issuance of alerts and advisories.
It has also started work towards capacity building and training of law enforcement personnel, prosecutors and judicial officers besides improving cyber forensic facilities.
The government set up Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) to provide a framework and eco-system to deal with the cyber crimes in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.
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The Government launched the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal (www.cybercrime.gov.in), to enable public to report incidents pertaining to all types of cyber crimes, with a special focus on cyber crimes against women and children.
Cyber crime incidents reported on this portal, their conversion into FIRs and subsequent action thereon are handled by the State/UT law enforcement agency concerned as per the provisions of the law.
Citizen Financial Cyber Fraud Reporting and Management System has been launched for immediate reporting of financial frauds and to stop siphoning off funds by the fraudsters.
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