President Ram Nath Kovind addressing a joint sitting of both houses - Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha - of Parliament in the Central Hall in New Delhi on June 20, 2019. (Photo: IANS/RB)
New Delhi, June 20, 2019
President Ram Nath Kovind today said the Government remained committed to the idea of building a strong, safe, prosperous and all-inclusive India in keeping with the basic spirit of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas aur Sabka Vishwas’.
Addressing a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament, Kovind said, “This New India’s vision is motivated by the noble thoughts of Shri Narayana Guru, Kerala’s great spiritual figure, social reformer and poet.”
He proceeded to quote the Guru’s words on living a harmonious life, free from rancour. “Jaati Bhedam Mata Dwesham EthumIllathe Sarvrum, Sodarathvena Vaazhunna Mathruka Sthanamanithu” (This is an ideal place where people live like brothers, free from discrimination on the basis of caste and religion).
Three weeks ago, on May 30, immediately after swearing-in, the Government has started working towards building a New India where equal opportunities to progress are available to every person; Where life of every person becomes better and their self-esteem is enhanced; Where brotherhood and harmony bind the people with each other; Where the foundation built on our ideals and values becomes stronger and where the benefits of development reach every region and the last person standing in the queue, he said.
“This New India will move forward towards that ideal state envisioned by Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore, “where the mind of the people is without fear and the head is held high with self-esteem.”
The President noted that more than 61 crore voters of the country set a new record by casting their votes and enhanced the credibility of India’s democracy in the world. People have stood in long queues braving extreme heat to cast their votes. This time, as compared to previous elections, more women have cast their votes and their participation has been almost equal to men. Crores of youth have voted for the first time and played an important role in shaping India’s future.
Nearly half of the MPs in this Lok Sabha have been elected for the first time. The election of 78 women MPs which is the highest number in the history of Lok Sabha, presents the picture of a New India.
“It is a matter of pride for every Indian that when our country completes 75 years of independence in 2022, we would have achieved many national goals for building a New India. To pave the way for the golden future of New India, my Government has resolved: On this path of a New India, the rural India will be strong and urban India will also be empowered.
The entrepreneurial India will attain new heights and the dreams of young India will also be fulfilled; all systems will be transparent and the prestige of honest countrymen will increase further; infrastructure for the 21st century will be built and all resources for creation of a powerful India will be mobilised.
In the light of these resolutions, in a short period of 21 days, the Government has taken many decisions aimed at the welfare of farmers, soldiers, students, entrepreneurs, women and other sections of society and have also started implementing them. Initiatives have also been taken to enact several new laws, he said.
“A decision has been taken to increase the income support to farmers who are our Annadaata, by extending the coverage under ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi’, to every farmer in the country. To enable the farmer brothers and sisters who work day and night in their fields to lead a respectable life after attaining the age of 60 years, a ‘Pension Scheme’ for them has also been approved.
"Livestock is invaluable for farmers. They have to spend a lot of money for treatment of cattle-related diseases. To reduce this expenditure, my Government has also decided to start a special scheme with an allocation of Rs 13,000 crore," he said.
For the first time, a Government has taken note of the economic security of small shopkeepers. In the very first meeting of the Cabinet, a separate ‘Pension Scheme’ has been approved for small shopkeepers and retail traders. About 3 crore small shopkeepers in the country will benefit from this scheme.
“We are all indebted to the soldiers who dedicate themselves to protect the countrymen by sacrificing every joy, every pleasure and every festive occasion. It is our duty to secure the future of children of those who guard the border, and ensure peace and security for everyone. Inspired by this sentiment, the amount of scholarship under the ‘National Defence Fund’ has been increased for the children of our brave soldiers. For the first time, sons and daughters of the State police personnel have also been included in this scholarship,” Kovind said.
“One of the biggest challenges of the 21st century is – the growing water crisis. Over time, the traditional and effective practices of water conservation in our country are disappearing. Houses have come up over ponds and lakes, and the vanishing water sources have accentuated the water crisis for the poor.
“In view of the growing impact of Climate Change and Global Warming, water crisis is likely to aggravate further. Today, the need of the hour is that the way the country has shown seriousness about ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’, the same seriousness be shown in ‘Water Conservation and Management’, “ he said.
“We must conserve water for our children and future generations. The creation of the new ‘Ministry of Jalshakti’ is a decisive step in this direction, which will have far-reaching benefits. Through this new Ministry, the systems related to water conservation and management will be made more effective.
“My Government is fully conscious of the crisis in the drought-hit areas and stands by every affected citizen. With the support of State Governments and Sarpanches at the village level, it is being ensured that farmers are assisted and the scarcity of drinking water is tackled,” he added.
“Our young generation must have a meaningful participation in the building of New India. In the last five years, attempts have been made for developing the skills of the youth, providing them financial support for start-ups and self-employment, and making available adequate number of seats for higher education. The amount of scholarship has also been increased by 25%.
“The Government has made provision of 10% reservation for youth from economically weaker section of the general category. This will enable them to get more opportunities in employment and education,” he added.
To enable the youth of all strata of society to fulfil their dreams, the timely provision of financial resources is being emphasised. The impact of ‘Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna’ has been felt on a big scale. Under this scheme, about 19 crore loans have been disbursed for self-employment.
An effort will now be made to cover 30 crore people by expanding this scheme. A facility for entrepreneurs to avail loan up to Rs 50 lakh without any guarantee will also be introduced. Apart from this, new employment opportunities will be generated through appropriate policies in sectors which have the potential to accelerate the economy.
Today India has joined the league of countries with the most number of start-ups in the world. To improve the start-up ecosystem, the Government is simplifying the rules. This campaign will be further expedited. Our goal is to establish 50,000 start-ups in the country by 2024, he added.
Economic development plays the most vital role in improving the lives of our countrymen. Today India is among the fastest growing economies in the world. Inflation is low, fiscal deficit is under control, foreign exchange reserves are growing and the impact of Make In India is clearly visible.
India is now on the way to become the world’s 5th largest economy in terms of GDP. To maintain the high growth rate, reform process will continue. It is our objective to make India a 5-trillion dollar economy by 2024.
Work is underway in full earnest to transform India into a Global Manufacturing Hub. Keeping in view Industry 4.0, a New Industrial Policy will be announced shortly. In ‘Ease of Doing Business’, India has leap-frogged 65 positions during the past 5 years, from a ranking of 142 in 2014 to 77.
Now our goal is to be among the top 50 countries of the world. In order to achieve this, process of simplification of rules will be further expedited in collaboration with the States. In this sequence, necessary amendments are also being brought in the Companies Law.
Good governance reduces corruption, enhances self-respect of the citizens and enables them to optimally utilize their talents and capabilities.
“My Government will make the Zero Tolerance Policy against corruption more comprehensive and effective. The mission to eliminate corruption from public life and Government services will be implemented with greater zeal. Towards this objective, Minimum Government - Maximum Governance will be further emphasised. In addition, the use of technology will be maximised to reduce Human Interface. Appointment of Lokpal will also promote transparency.
“The campaign against black money will be taken forward at a faster pace. During the last two years, 4.25 lakh Company Directors have been disqualified and the registration of 3.50 lakh suspicious companies has been revoked.
“New India is rapidly moving towards occupying its rightful place in the world community. Today, India has acquired a new image and our relations with other countries have become stronger. It is a matter of immense pleasure that in 2022, India will host the G-20 Summit.
“It is the belief of my Government that political parties, States and 130 crore countrymen are all committed to India’s integrated and accelerated development. Our vibrant democracy has also matured adequately. During the last few decades, due to frequent elections being held in some part of the country or the other, the pace and continuity of development programmes have been impacted.
“Our countrymen have demonstrated their wisdom by delivering a clear verdict both at State and National issues. ‘One Nation – Simultaneous Elections’ is the need of the hour, which would facilitate accelerated development, thereby benefitting our countrymen.
“With such a system in place, all political parties, according to their respective ideologies, will be able to better utilise their energy towards development and public welfare. Therefore, I urge all Members of Parliament to seriously ponder over this development oriented proposal of ‘One Nation - Simultaneous Elections’.
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