New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee said Monday that the country's federal spirit has been diluted over the years and the government would invigorate fora like the National Development Council and the Inter-State Council to actively engage with the states.
Addressing the joint session of parliament, the president said "the centre will be an enabler in the rapid progress of states through cooperative federalism. State-specific development models will be developed taking into account the special needs and unique problems of coastal, hilly and desert areas".
"India is a federal polity. But, over the years, the federal spirit has been diluted," said Mukherjee.
Under the previous UPA dispensation, many states were critical of the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre, a central intelligence hub, which they felt impinged on the principle of federalism.
He said the highest priority will be accorded to bring the eastern region of the country on par with the western region in terms of physical and social infrastructure.
"My government is committed to addressing the issues relating to development of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The government will lay special emphasis on improving the intra-region connectivity and border infrastructure in the northeast as well as in Jammu and Kashmir."
The government will tackle "on priority" the issue of infiltration and illegal immigrants in the northeast region, and all pending fencing work along the northeast border will be completed, he said.