The Centre has asked states to strengthen institutional mechanisms and “maintain data of suspects” in order to tackle cyber crime, racial abuse and communal propaganda online, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday.

Ministry of Home Affairs Joint Secretary Kumar Alok sent a notice to the states and Union territories on January 13 in which he mentioned an eight-point guideline to prevent and detect such crimes, and also strengthen the tools that will help investigators. The ministry suggested “deep monitoring of web” and asked states to monitor social media “with due emphasis on vernacular content”.

Alok, in his advisory note, urged states to hire experts in information technology, mobile telephony, digital forensics and cyber law and set up cyber-crime coordination cells at the state and district levels, the Deccan Herald reported. Authorities should also launch awareness campaigns advising people about practices – such as not sharing their user IDs, passwords, PIN numbers or one-time passwords – that will protect them from cyber attacks.

The ministry said that leads generated during investigations in cyber crime cases should be shared with other law enforcement agencies through a “secured internal network”.

The suggestions were based on the report of an expert committee headed by former Lok Sabha Secretary General TK Viswanathan that submitted its proposals to the ministry in September 2017.