In a fresh effort to break the logjam over the National Counter Terrorism
Centre, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today offered to work with states to
evolve a consensus on this crucial security measure.
Rejecting the Opposition charge that Government was not dealing effectively with
internal security, Singh asserted that there would be no compromise in dealing
"All political parties need to speak with one voice in dealing with terrorism.
In order to bring about a broad national consensus, we will work with state
governments in respect to the proposal for setting of NCTC," he said in Rajya
Sabha while replying to the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address.
The setting up of NCTC has been hanging fire for last three years because of
strong resistance by Opposition-ruled states, which contend it would encroach
upon the powers of the states.
In the wake of the Hyderabad blasts, Government is again initiating efforts to
set up the NCTC.
Jaitley had yesterday taken a dig at the government and asked it not to convert
the NCTC into a slogan.
"I believe that there are no two points of views that we should not make any
compromise in dealing with terrorism," the Prime Minister said.
During his 30-minute reply, Singh replied to a host of issues raised by the
Opposition including the country's economy, development and foreign policy
besides internal security.
Talking about foreign policy, Singh referred to Pakistan and made it clear that
normalisation in relations cannot take place unless the terror infrastructure is
Noting that India has an "unsettled neighbourhood" and needed to remain
alert, Singh said the government will "never compromise" with its national
"With Pakistan, we have made sincere efforts to normalise relations. We have
achieved some results, people to people contact and trade has shown improvement.
"But there cannot be normalisation, unless and until the terror machine, which
is still active in Pakistan, is brought under control. This has been our policy
since last 9 years and this will be our same approach to deal with Pakistan in
the coming times," the Prime Minister said.
On the plight of ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka, Singh shared the concern expressed
by members and asked the government there to ensure "dignity and self respect"
"We have been worried about the fate of Tamil people in Sri Lanka.... There must
be political reconciliation. Without the reconciliation, the situation cannot be
"Sri Lanka government must take initiative to talk to the Tamil leadership in
Sri Lanka and ensure that the Tamil people are given a life of dignity and self
respect," he said.
Singh said India wants its neighbours to prosper and will work with them to
strive for providing the SAARC region with new growth, not achieved so far.
Terming the debate on the Motion of Thanks as "vigorous" and "wide-ranging", the
Prime Minister tore into BJP's charge that his government has not handled the
economy well as he cited figures to show the growth had been better during the
UPA rule than the NDA rule.
He particularly singled out Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley for his attack,
saying he should assess the economic situation in an unbiased manner, using his
"good sense" and not merely score political points.
He shared the members' concern over the slow-down of economy during the current
fiscal but exuded confidence that the country will get back to the path of 7 to
8 per cent growth in the next two to three years.
"As the Finance Minister said we do not believe growth rate will stay
where it is today. We will use all our policies to push up growth rate. We hope
and it is our confidence that in two to three years economy will bounce back to
high growth of 7 to 8 percent," the Prime Minister said.
He said the Leader of Opposition should be objective and respectful in assessing
UPA's performance recalling that the "LOP said that UPA inherited fast growing
economy and we have made a mess of it."
The Prime Minister said allocation for social sector schemes has gone up during
the UPA rule in comparison to the NDA period.
"UPA govt focussed on social spending... We are proud of expanding expenditure
in social sector. We are proud of making sincere efforts to fulfil the desire of
the poor," he said.
Singh said that during the NDA rule, there were "token provisions" for "this
programme that progamme" but the "allocation was so small".
The Prime Minister cited figures to drive home the point that the allocations in
schemes like PMGSY went up manifold during the UPA rule.
Singh said that in 1990s also, when Congress was in power and adopted economic
reforms to create environment for rapid industrialisation, there were doubts
about intents of the government.
He said there were criticism that policies are made in Washington not in Delhi
but in 1996 there was United Front Government and later BJP government at the
Centre still "there was no change in direction of this path."
"All parties whatever they may say have sworn by the economic reforms," the
Prime Minister said.
He said he sincerely hopes and trusts that the LOP will reflect calmly on the
situation, the government has dealt with. "...The path we have chosen is the
right path," Singh stressed.
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