‘It should have been kept out as the issue is still debated'

The Trinamool Congress and the Opposition parties have tabled motions seeking removal of the reference to the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in the President's address to the joint session of Parliament.

The motions will be moved when the motion of thanks to the President for her address is commended for adoption in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha separately. The debate commenced in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

In her address, President Pratibha Patil had said the National Intelligence Grid and the NCTC were aimed at improving India's capability to counter internal security threats.

The Trinamool Congress and some Opposition parties feel that the government should not have included the NCTC in the President's address as the issue is still being debated.

Normally, the motion of thanks is adopted without any amendment. However, given the strong views of some States on the NCTC plan, the government would have to find a way out.

This time round, members have given over two thousand notices seeking amendments to the President's speech, according to officials in the Lok Sabha Secretariat. “It is very unusual for members to move so many amendments. We are in the process of sorting [them] out… The exact number and nature of amendments will be known only after they are gone through,” an official said.

The Centre and several States, including West Bengal, are engaged in a tug of war over the NCTC. These States have argued that the NCTC would undermine the functioning of the States, posing a threat to federalism. Following objections raised by the States, the plan, which was to have been operationalised on March 1, has been put on hold by the Manmohan Singh government.

As directed by the Prime Minister, the Union Home Ministry has started consultations with the States to alley their apprehensions.

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