In a defining policy statement — ahead of its maiden full-spectrum budget — the Indian government sought to buttress its pro-poor credentials by stressing a host of policy initiatives aimed at uplifting the have-nots. The government also conjured up a vibrant picture of the Indian economy, which, it said, is the world’s fastest growing economy at 7.4 per cent growth rate.
President Pranab Mukherjee addressed joint session of both houses of Parliament to begin the budget session of the parliament on February 23. In his address, Mr Mukherjee said that the government was determined to work for the welfare of the poorest of poor, the most vulnerable and disadvantaged sections of society.
Alluding to a host of pioneering initiatives taken by the BJP-led NDA government to stimulate national resurgence and economic rejuvenation, the president said: “A strong beginning has been made. A promising future awaits us.”
“The fundamental tenet of my Government is Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas– All Together, Development of All. Within a span of nine months, my government has articulated and embarked on a comprehensive strategy for unleashing the full potential of our country and its precious resource of 125 crore people,” Mr Mukherjee said.
The president stressed that the government had initiated measures to initiate action in a diverse array of fields, ranging from from sanitation to smart cities, poverty elimination to the creation of wealth, skill development to conquering space. He also spoke about the government’s resolve to tap demographic dividend, to enhance ease of doing business by instituting a stable policy framework, empowering individuals to ensuring quality infrastructure, and making the country a manufacturing hub.
Inclusive growth was the leitmotif of the presidential speech. He emphasised that the government was fully committed to expand the job market and bring transparency and accountability in enforcing labour related regulations.
In the diplomatic arena, the president spoke about India’s rising global profile and spoke about the recent visits to India by a host of world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama. “India has a more active Act-East-Policy, which is anchored in our relations with Southeast Asian countries and now extends to Australia,” he said.
In the coming months, Indian government intends to deepen cooperation with Europe, Japan, West Asia Central Asia, Australia, Africa and South America, he added.
The Railway budget is scheduled to be presented on February 26, followed by the annual budget on February 28.
This parliamentary session is crucial because the Modi government plans to garner approval for ordinances. The ordinances will lapse if they do not pass a vote within six weeks of Parliament opening.
With the opposition in an aggressive mood, Mr Mukherjee sought the “cooperation” of all MPs in the smooth conduct of legislative business.
“I urge all Members of the Parliament to discharge their solemn responsibility in a spirit of cooperation and mutual accommodation. By channelizing the patriotic energies of every citizen, we all collectively must work towards building a strong and modern India,” Mr Mukherjee said while stressing on the need for smooth functioning of parliament.
Here are the highlights of presidential address:
- Inclusive growth, including progress of the most vulnerable sections, is the topmost priority of government
- Government committed to providing a toilet in every school by August 15
- My govt has taken several measures to empower and protect dignity of women
- My govt created a new Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship with the theme “Hunar hai to Kalyan hai”
- A new national policy for school development and entrepreneurship is in the offing
- Education is the priority of priorities for my Government for which Padhega Bharat, Badhega Bharat was launched
- Education is the top priority for my govt
- Cleanliness an article of faith for the government
- Direct benefit transfer being implemented with new vigour
- My Government has attached highest importance to sustainable socio-economic growth of rural India
- Coverage under jan dhan yojna close to 100%
- The government believes in the fundamental tenet of ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’
- My Govt is pledged to work for the welfare of the poor, the marginalized & the vulnerable sections of the society
(Vikas Lather contributed inputs for this article)
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