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Updated: May 24, 2012 10:04 IST

It's not a State vs. Centre issue, asserts Manmohan

Vinay Kumar
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chairs the Chief Ministers’ meeting on the National Counter-Terrorism Centre, in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: S. Subramanium
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chairs the Chief Ministers’ meeting on the National Counter-Terrorism Centre, in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: S. Subramanium

Says the issue is not one of "State versus Centre"

While assuring the States that the UPA government was committed to working with them and providing them all possible help in combating terrorism, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the establishment of the National Counter Terrorism Centre “is not a State versus Centre issue.”

“It is not our government's intention, in any way, to affect the distribution of powers between the States and the Union that our Constitution provides [for],” he told the Chief Ministers who gathered here for a daylong conference on the controversial set-up proposed to coordinate action against terror. The meeting was convened after stiff opposition from a dozen Chief Ministers to the NCTC plan.

Stressing that the NCTC would supplement and, not supplant, the States' counter-terrorism capabilities, Dr. Singh, in his inaugural address, asked the State governments to work with the Centre in dealing with terrorism.

The primary purpose setting up the NCTC “is to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts throughout the country, as the Intelligence Bureau has been doing so far. The NCTC should be a vehicle of our combined efforts to reach the shared goal of curbing terrorism and eradicating militancy,” he said.

The antecedents of the NCTC were derived from the Group of Ministers and the Administrative Reforms Commission, beginning with the lessons learnt in the Kargil conflict, Dr. Singh said, defending the proposal. “The NCTC mechanism will give each State agency an ability to see the bigger picture of terrorist threats and thus would enhance their counter-terrorism capability and access to resources to tackle them.”

Drawing the Chief Ministers' attention to the drafts of the Standard Operating Procedures circulated by the Union Home Ministry, he said they reflected the detailed provisions for Centre-State coordination in both the organisational set-up of the NCTC and in its powers and functions.

“But, for the NCTC to function smoothly and effectively, it is important that we have a fairly broad consensus on its powers and functions. We would like the State governments to be with us in this initiative, which we believe would strengthen our counter-terrorism efforts.”

Pointing out that terrorism was today one of the most potent threats to the national security, he said there could be no disagreement on putting in place an effective counter-terrorism regime with efficient mechanisms and response systems at the national level and in the States. “Neither the States nor the Centre can fulfil this task alone. The closest cooperation and coordination is, therefore, necessary to meet the threats that emanate from within and outside our borders.”

It was the “responsibility of the Centre to give form and shape to a cohesive national approach and strategy based on information gathered globally and from all the States of our Union,” Dr. Singh said.

“On their part, the States should use their expertise, knowledge and machinery to secure their own territories and work in coordination with the Centre and other States.”

Referring to the Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008, Dr. Singh said that since 26/11, “we have diligently strengthened our counter-terrorism capabilities, both in the States and at the Centre.” The State and Central police and intelligence agencies were working in harmony and in close coordination.

“These efforts have resulted in several noteworthy successes. The State police forces have achieved some excellent results in the recent past. On the whole, there is [a] broad agreement on the strategy and measures that we must adopt to counter terrorism in all its multifarious dimensions in India, including cross-border terrorism, Left-Wing Extremism, terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, insurgency in the northeast and religion-based terrorism. However, much remains to be done.”

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the center's firm stand for setting up of the NCTC is a welcome move
for our nation plagued by terrorism. the states dismissal of the body
due to "hampering withe the federal structure" seems preposterous in
the light that the issue in question is a pan-nation problem , not
just state specific. moreover, most of the terrorist attacks were not
foiled due to lack of co-ordination between the state and national
intelligence agencies. it is hence time for the state ministers to
rise above their plebiscitary dispute with the center on NCTC and join
hands so as to ensure the welfare of the citizens and a set an example
of an efficient federal structure which calls for greater co-
ordination between center and sates through build up of trust and
confidence, while maintaining their autonomy.

from:  anupama
Posted on: May 23, 2012 at 11:58 IST

Living fearless life can never be guaranteed only in the hands of state government unless centre extends its intelligence and prior precaution to counter terrorism.Terrorism has no boundary of cast, creed,community and country.Terrorism has gone to global parameter.It shatters the nation as a whole and creats a war like situation.NCTC plan must be executed by building trust and confidence between centre and state.

from:  Radha Kumud Das
Posted on: May 5, 2012 at 21:13 IST

While there is a need for dealing with Maoist and Jihadist terrorist groups in India, giving sweeping powers to center can't be a solution. Center was never corruption free or has never been fair to all states in past. Can't expect the same magically today. In a diverse country like India, consolidated powers only leads to more corruption adding to the problem. States like Tamil Nadu has tackled the problem in the past (which is in much better position when compared to states like Andra Pradesh or any northern states).
First India should stop negotiating with terrorists and releasing them on kidnap-ransom cycle. And deal with corruption and root out corrupted/criminal politicians, which happen to be the root cause of may social issues.

from:  Senthil Natarajan
Posted on: May 5, 2012 at 19:52 IST

what binayak sen calls `strucural vioence' is taking place all over the country.state or centre whoever tries to erradicate terrorism, has to give their concern on that issue. if starvation and eviction goes on like this for the cause of big corporates,it is impossible to stop terrorism by buildig a 'powerful house'of nctc and the violence will be 'justified' as the state is also practising violence over its own people in its own way.in that case whose security that the state is talking over?

from:  rupsa ray
Posted on: May 5, 2012 at 17:21 IST

The grievance of Chief Ministers of opposition ruled states is that the centre did not discuss the matter adequately before creating NCTC. There is also a feeling among the CMs opposing the proposal that centre is usurping states powers. As things stand,NCTC will be ineffective until all fears are duly addressed which may take years. This is the result of our misfortune to have politicians lacking broad national thinking & outlook. Also,insted of having more laws and agencies,it would be effective if we follow the rule book and enforce law and order properly and effectively.

from:  Vyas K Susarla
Posted on: May 5, 2012 at 15:33 IST

Jayalalitha's bold and outright statement clearly confirms she is a
"statewoman" of first rank.India needs politicians that could stand
firmly of their convictions to lead the billion population.What India
needs today is New Age politicians as Narendra Modi and Jayalalitha with
a backbone then a fishbone.Congress is faded.

from:  ABRAHAM
Posted on: May 5, 2012 at 15:24 IST

The PM is making all the right noises. But his statement that it is
not "State versus Centre" issue, has to be amended. As per the true
spirit of the Constitution it "ought not to be" a State versus Centre issue, but unfortunately it has become so. And the Congress leadership bears no small responsibility for this sorry state of affairs. It will be foolish on the part of the state CMs to agree to the Centre's proposal without insisting on thorough consultations and stringent conditionalities. Consensus alone will be acceptable in matters
pertaining to Centre-State relations.

from:  Marudhamuthu Radhakrishnan
Posted on: May 5, 2012 at 13:18 IST
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