Notwithstanding opposition from non-Congress states, President Pratibha Patil on Monday favoured setting up of the NCTC, saying it would improve India's capability to counter internal security threats as terrorist modules continue to be active in the country.
Addressing the joint sitting of Parliament, Patil said the July 13, 2011 bomb blasts in Mumbai and September 7, 2011 explosion in Delhi were a grim reminder that terrorist modules continue to be active in the country.
"In 2011, eighteen terrorist modules were neutralised. The National Intelligence Grid and the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) aim to improve India's capability to counter internal security threats," she said.
The President's statement came even as over a dozen chief cinisters, including West Bengal chief minister and UPA ally Mamata Banerjee, Odisha's Naveen Patnaik, Bihar's Nitish Kumar and Tamil Nadu's J Jayalalitha, have opposed the creation of the NCTC on the ground that it would hurt the federal structure of the country and infringe into states' powers.
Patil said in the area of internal security, the UPA government has launched a number of measures towards development of areas affected by left-wing extremism.
She said the Integrated Action Plan with an outlay of Rs. 3,300 crore in the last two years has brought development to the villages in the most backward and violence-affected districts of the country.
The plan, which was being implemented so far in 60 districts, has been extended to 78 districts, she said.
The President said the central government has shown that acts of violence can be contained with a firm but humane approach.
"The security situation in the north eastern states and Jammu and Kashmir has shown considerable improvement during the last year," the President said.
Patil said the UPA government has always been willing to enter into dialogue with any group willing to abjure the path of violence.
"It is encouraging that a number of organisations have come forward seeking resolution of their grievances in a peaceful manner," she said.
The President said a major success achieved in Jammu and Kashmir was the conduct of the Panchayat elections after a long gap and it received an overwhelming response from the people with more than 80 per cent voter turnout.
She said more than one crore pilgrims had 'darshan' of Mata Vaishno Devi during 2011.
She also said Special Industry Initiative Scheme known as "Udaan" and Skill Development and Employment Scheme called "Himayat" have been launched for the youth of Jammu & Kashmir.
The President said in deference to the long-cherished wishes of the people of the region, the Centre has signed a tripartite agreement for setting up of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.
Another tripartite Memorandum of Settlement has been signed with United People's Democratic Solidarity in Assam, Patil said, adding a non-lapsable central pool of resources has been created to cover the gaps in funding requirements of central government projects in the north east.