President Pranab Mukherjee said that the present central government will initiate a series of social, healthcare and infrastructure programmes while asserting that there will be ‘zero tolerance’ towards terrorism and extremism, besides violence against women.
Addressing the first joint sitting of Parliament after the recent Lok Sabha elections, He said the government will revive ‘Brand India’, riding on its strengths of five ‘T’s — tradition, talent, tourism, trade and technology — and will pursue foreign policy on the basis of “enlightened nationalism” and mutually beneficial relationships.
“The people of India have given a clear mandate. They want to see a vibrant, dynamic and prosperous India. They want to see a resurgent India regaining the admiration and respect of the international community,” Mukherjee said in his 55-minute address.
“To put the Indian economy back on track is paramount for my government. We will work together to usher our economy into high growth path, rein in inflation, reignite the investment cycle, accelerate job creation and restore the confidence of the domestic as well as international community in our economy,” he said.
Seeking to heal the fractured and contentious politics of the previous years, President Pranab Mukherjee said the new government at the Centre will work for development in a resurgent India in which corruption will have no place.
In a word of assurance to minorities, the address he said the new government is committed to making all minorities equal partners in India’s progress.
“My government will make every effort to introduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) while addressing the concerns of states. Reforms will be undertaken to enhance the ease of doing business. My government will follow a policy of encouraging investments, including through FDI, which will be allowed in sectors that help create jobs and assets,” Mukherjee said.
In order to create jobs, he said, the government will promote labour-intensive manufacturing and endeavour to expand employment opportunities in tourism and agro-based industries.
In the address he also said that the government is dedicated to the poor as poverty has no religion, hunger has no creed and despair has no geography. “The greatest challenge before us is to end the curse of poverty in India. My government will not be satisfied with mere “poverty alleviation” and commits itself to the goal of “poverty elimination.”
Unveiling the Narendra Modi-led government’s priorities, the President said state-specific development models will be developed taking into account the special needs and unique problems of coastal and desert areas.
On addressing on the issue of price rising he said that the new government, headed by Narendra Modi, will accord topmost priority to containing food inflation and take tough against hoarding and black marketing.
Outlining the policies of the BJP-led NDA government, Mukherjee said efforts will be made to reform the Public Distribution System (PDS) by incorporating best practices from the states.
The retail inflation accelerated to a three-month high of 8.59 per cent in April mainly due to increasing prices of vegetables, fruits and milk. “Inflation continues to be at an unacceptable level,” he said, adding that “we will work together to usher our economy into a high growth path, rein in inflation, reignite the investment cycle”.
Announcing that the government will come out with a comprehensive National Energy Policy, Mukherjee said it will also focus on developing energy related infrastructure, human resource and technology.
“The international civil nuclear agreements will be operationalised and nuclear power projects for civilian purposes will be developed,” he said, adding that a judicious mix of conventional and non-conventional sources will be used to substantially augment electricity generation capacity.
“By the time the nation completes 75 years of Independence, every family will have a pucca house with water connection, toilet facilities, 24X7 electricity supply and access,” the President said.
On the environment front, he said government will promote cleaner fuels, launch a National Mission on Himalayas and take all steps to ensure a perennially clean Ganga.
Observing that utmost vigil will be maintained on internal security, the President said a policy of “zero tolerance towards terrorism, extremism, riots and crime” will be pursued, while police will be modernised to tackle new forms of terror like narco-terrorism and cyber threats.
“A national plan will be chalked out in consultation with state governments to effectively curb incidents of communal violence and the challenges posed by Left wing extremism,” he said.
Mukherjee said the government will take steps to equip the security forces with the latest technology and to improve their working conditions.
Expressing India’s determination to deal with the menace of black money, President Pranab Mukherjee today said the Narendra Modi government will engage with foreign countries to bring back the ill-gotten money stashed abroad.
“My government is determined to rid the country of the scourge of corruption and the menace of black money. As a first step in this direction, the government has already constituted a SIT to unearth black money stashed abroad.
“This will be followed up vigorously by proactively engaging with foreign governments,” Mukherjee said in his address to Parliament outlining the priorities of the new government.
Mukherjee in his address also said that the government will provide a clean and efficient administration focussed on delivery.
“The institution of Lok Pal is important to curb corruption and my government will endeavour to formulate rules in conformity with the Act. My government will take steps to build the confidence and morale of our bureaucracy; enabling it with the freedom to work, and welcoming innovative ideas,” he said.
The government, Mukherjee said, will endeavour to put in place transparent systems and time bound delivery of government services.
“Government systems and processes will be revisited to make them citizen friendly, corruption free and accountable. Efforts will be made to eliminate obsolete laws, regulations, administrative structures and practices,” he said.
Mukherjee said India needs to transform itself into a globally competitive manufacturing hub powered by skill, scale and speed.
“Export potential of this sector will be encouraged. My government will make every effort to improve the working. A holistic healthcare system that is universally “accessible, affordable and effective” is the objective of the new government which will formulate a new health policy and roll out a National Health Assurance Mission to meet the goal, President Pranab Mukherjee today said. AIIMS-like institutes will be established in every state in a phased manner, he said.
Noting that the general elections were smooth and largely peaceful, he congratulated the Election Commission and the official machinery for successful conduct of the exercise.
Newly-elected Lok Sabha members and those belonging to the Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Modi, his cabinet colleagues, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and other opposition leaders heard the 50-minute speech with rapt attention interspersed by occasional thumping of desks.