President Patil pitches for NCTC

President Patil pitches for NCTC

House in session: Govt reiterates commitment to talks with Pak

The UPA government on the first day of the Budget Session on Monday pitched for the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) to effectively combat security threats besides unveiling its developmental  agenda for next two years. 

guard of honour: President Pratibha Patil returns a salute to the presidential bodyguard (not seen in picture) after arriving to address the joint session of Parliament on Monday. Pti

The Centre, detailing its “new” road map for governance through the address of the President, listed a number of  measures which it said would curb corruption, enhance accountability in the government and ensure economic security.  

The President’s speech, perhaps her last to the joint-session of the Parliament,  was  interrupted five-times by different political parties while she articulated the government’s support for the NCTC and spoke about the 4.5 per cent sub-quota for minorities.

The DMK MPs protested demanding that India vote against Sri Lanka on a resolution in Geneva moved by the US on the alleged war crimes committed by the Lankan government. A section of MPs ,including Congress members supporting Telangana interrupted the President’s speech twice.

While delivering the address, the President bore in mind what she described as “heavy agenda” during the session and that of pushing important legislation and a reform-oriented General Budget. The Assembly polls results and the generated political uncertainty also seemed to have impacted the government assertions in the speech.

Patil said the government is confident that it will soon steer the country back to the high growth trajectory of 8 to 9 per cent.

On the foreign policy front, the President  expressed the government’s commitment to resolve all outstanding issues with Pakistan through dialogue. She, however, asked  Pakistan to take credible action against terrorist groups and related infrastructure on its soil.

The president also supported  the National Intelligence Grid and the NCTC which she said aimed to improve India’s capability to counter internal security threats.

Listing  the five “important challenges” the government faces, Patil said the government will work to guarantee internal and external security within the framework of a “just, plural, secular and inclusive” democracy.

Besides, the government promised to give “livelihood security” for a  majority of population and creation of  “productive jobs”. “My government aims to provide skill training to 85 lakh people during 2012-13 and 800 lakh people during the 12th Plan.  The government will set up 1500 new Industrial Training Institutes and 5000 Skill
Development Centres under Public Private Partnership at an estimated cost of Rs ₹ 13,000 crore”, she said.

Keeping in view the opposition demand to bring back black money stashed abroad, the president said the government was taking many steps to contain the generation and outflow of illicit funds.  

These steps include, she said  the operationalisation of new Income Tax Overseas Units, signing of new Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements and new Tax Information Exchange Agreements and better implementation of Transfer Pricing and International Taxation provisions.

States agree on anti-terror body: Centre

New Delhi, DHNS: The Union Home Ministry said on Monday that almost all the states have in principle acknowledged the need for anti-terror body like the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) , but “modalities and details of operational coordination” remained their central concerns.

Six non-Congress-ruled states stuck to their position on the NCTC issue at the DGs and Chief Secretaries meet here on the ground that the organisation will have overriding  powers over the state police.   On the other hand, Congress-ruled states have backed the NCTC. Top civil and police officials  of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka are opposing the NCTC in its current format  at the meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary R K Singh. Chiefs of anti-terror units of the states were also present at the meeting.

However, the Union home ministry claimed that “almost all states in principle agreed on the need to have an effective anti terrorism mechanism like NCTC”. A final political view on the NCTC is expected to be  taken at the Chief Ministers Conference here next month.

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