NEW DELHI, March 12 (IANS): President Pratibha Patil Monday said the proposed National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), which has been blocked due to severe opposition from non-Congress ruled states, would "improve" India's capability in battling internal security threats.
"The National Intelligence Grid and the National Counter Terrorism Centre aim to improve India's capability to counter internal security threats," Patil said, addressing the joint sitting of parliament on the first day of the budget session.
She said the bomb blasts July 13 in Mumbai and September 7 in Delhi last year were a "grim reminder" that terrorist modules continue to be active in the country.
"In 2011, eighteen terrorist modules were neutralized," she said favouring the formation of the NCTC, which has been opposed by over a dozen chief ministers, including Mamta Banerjee of West Bengal whose Trinamool Congress is a Congress ally in the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
Odisha's Naveen Patnaik, Bihar's Nitish Kumar and Tamil Nadu's J. Jayalalithaa have also raised objections against the anti-terror intelligence hub that is aimed at to integrate and analyse inputs on terror threats in India.
On internal security front, Patil in her speech said, the UPA government "has shown that acts of violence can be contained with a firm but humane approach".
"The security situation in the Northeastern states and Jammu and Kashmir has shown considerable improvement during the last year."
She said the government has always expressed its willingness to talk to extremist groups provided they shun violence.
"My 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 conduct of the panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir after a long gap was a "major success achieved" in the state that has been in the throes of militancy since 1990s.
"It (the polls) received an overwhelming response from the people with more than 80 percent voter turnout."
Patil said peace was returning to the state as "more than one crore pilgrims had 'darshan' of Mata Vaishno Devi, a hill shrine in Jammu and Kashmir, during 2011.
She said a special industry initiative scheme known as "Udaan" and a skill development and employment programme called "Himayat" have been launched for the youth of Jammu and Kashmir.
"While "Udaan" aims at targeting 40,000 youth for skill development, "Himayat" would be covering one lakh youth in the next five years at a cost of Rs.235 crore. More than 1,000 trainees have already been given placement letters in different sectors."