Scotland's First Minister is expected to meet with the Prime Minister in the next few weeks to conclude the discussions about the terms of a vote.
He said independence would give Scotland the powers needed to promote jobs and growth.
He told MSPs, "I believe an independent Scotland is a fairer as well as weathier one."
A controversial bill on same - sex marriage will also be brought forward. It will be subject to a free 'conscience' vote in the parliament.
"No faith group will be required to take part in a same- sex ceremony unless they wish to do so. This is the apppropriate thing to do to respect religious and private beliefs, while ensuring equality."
More top news
Police in Scotland are appealing for information on a series of crashes, including an 86-year-old man hit by a car in Thornhill.
Three projects in southern Scotland will share a national fund to provide families with fresh and healthy food.
Greig Laidlaw, Stuart Hogg, Alex Dunbar, Ross Ford have been named in Scotland's squad for the Six Nations.