President outlines road map for next five years

New Delhi, June 05: Union Government on Thursday declared that it will pursue a policy of “zero-tolerance” towards terrorism from whatever source it originates and seek to reshape relationship with Pakistan which should confront terror groups inimical to India.

Outlining 10 broad areas of priority for the next five years, President Pratibha Patil said in her address to the joint session of the Parliament that the internal security and preservation of communal harmony, stepping up of economic growth and agriculture, manufacturing and services are among those areas.

In her address, she said the Government had in 2004 set before the country a vision of an inclusive society and an economy and worked for it.

“My Government sees the overwhelming mandate it has received as a vindication of the policy architecture of inclusion that it put in place. It is a mandate for inclusive growth, equitable development and a secular and plural India.

My Government is determined to work harder and better to realise these goals,” she said.

Other priority areas would be concerted action for disadvantage sections including women, SCs, STs and OBCs, governance reforms, creation and modernisation of infrastructure and capacity addition in key sectors, prudent fiscal management, energy security and environment protection, constructive and creative management with world and promotion of a culture of enterprise and innovations.

Ms. Patil said the new Government will take “concrete” steps to create equal opportunities for women by providing reservation to elected bodies at all levels, including reservation in jobs and a National Mission on Female Literacy.

“My Government will recast the National Literacy Mission as a National Mission for Female Literacy to make every woman literate in the next five years. Increased female literacy is expected to become a force multiplier for all our social development programmes,” she said.

She noted that while male literacy went up to over 75 per cent in the last census and is expected to be higher now, female literacy remained only 54 per cent.

The President said the Government will take concerted efforts to increase representation of women in Central government jobs.

The Government will take steps to “considerably” enhance social security coverage by including all widows above the age of 40 in the old age pension scheme, the President said.

“My Government considerably enhanced provisions for social security through old age pension for all people below the poverty line and above 65 years of age, all handicapped people and all widows above the age of 40,” the President said.

Maintaining that the Government will keep utmost vigil in the area of internal security, the President said a policy of zero-tolerance towards terrorism from whatever source it emanates will be pursued.

“Stern measures to handle insurgency and left wing extremism will be taken. Government has already prepared a detailed plan to address internal security challenges to be implemented in a time-bound manner,” she said.

Among other things, Ms. Patil said Multi-Agency Centre will be strengthened to ensure effective intelligence sharing and will ensure complete operationalisation of National Investigation Agency to handle terror-related offences and expansion of Central and State police forces and intelligence agencies besides making them equipped with the best technology.

“A national counter-terrorism centre will be established to take pro-active anti-terrorism measures. Special Forces and Quick Response Teams will be raised and deployed in vulnerable areas,” she said.

She said her Government would seek to re-shape relationship with Pakistan depending on the sincerity of its actions to confront groups who launch terrorist attacks against India from its territory.