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National plan to curb communal violence on card, says President
Monday June 9, 2014 3:15 PM, IANS

President Pranab Mukherjee Monday said the central government will initiate steps to modernise security forces and ensure there was "zero tolerance" to terrorism, extremism, riots and crime.

Pranab Joint Parliament address
[President Pranab Mukherjee being welcomed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his arrival at Parliament House to attend the Joint Session of the Parliament, in New Delhi on June 09, 2014. ]

"My government will take steps to equip the security forces with the latest technology... The government will maintain utmost vigil in the area of internal security. A policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism, extremism, riots and crime will be pursued," Mukherjee told a joint session of both houses of parliament.

Mukherjee said the states will be assisted for modernising police infrastructure and equipment will be provided to tackle new forms of terrorism, including "narco terrorism" and "cyber threats".

"A national plan will be chalked out in consultation with the state governments to effectively curb incidents of communal violence and the challenges posed by Left-wing extremism," Mukherjee said.

The president also emphasised on improving the intra-region connectivity and border infrastructure in the northeast as well as in Jammu and Kashmir.

The president in his address also outlined a slew of projects to show the thrust the Narendra Modi government wishes to give to infrastructure development.

"Lack of robust infrastructure is one of India's major impediments," the president said during the course of his 55-minute address to the joint session of the two houses of parliament in the Central Hall.

"The government will chalk out an ambitious infrastructure development programme to be implemented in the next 10 years. A fast-track, investment friendly and predictable public-private-paertnership mechanism will be put in place," he assured.

Outlining the government's priorities on the economic front, the president said that the government will liberalise foreign equity in defence production and will also encourage private investment in defence.

"Government to encourage private investments in defence production," President Pranab Mukherjee said addressing joint sitting of both houses of parliament.

He added that the government will also liberalise FDI (foreign direct investment) in defence production.

"With available human resources, India can emerge as global platform for defence," he said.

Mukherjee also said the armed forces will be modernised and manpower shortages addressed on priority.

A national maritime authority will also be set up.

Outlining the BJP government's Kashmir policy, the president said the government will ensure that the Kashmiri Pandits return to the Valley with full "dignity" and "security".

"Special efforts will be made to ensure that Kashmiri Pandits return to the land of their ancestors with full dignity, security and assured livelihood," the president said while addressing the joint session of both houses of parliament.

The announcement led to thunderous applause with many members thumping their desk.

Thousands of Kashmiri Pandits left the Valley in 1990 following an upsurge in armed violence, often aimed against them, by separatist groups.

Recently, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh stirred up a controversy declaring that the new government has started the process for repealing Article 370 which accords special status to Jammu and Kashmir. However, later the minister said he was misquoted by the media.

In its election manifesto, the BJP had promised repealing Article 370 after consultation with all stakeholders.


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