The Narendra Modi Government on Monday outlined an ambitious agenda for itself promising to translate its “clear mandate” for “hope” into a tangible action plan to bring sweeping change across several sectors.
“In 60 months from now, we should be able to say with confidence and pride that we have done it,” President Pranab Mukherjee said while addressing the first joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament in the Central Hall after the Lok Sabha polls.
The President’s address suggested that the Government was looking forward to the possibility of a second term when he said: “By the time the nation completes 75 years of Independence (2022), every family will have a pucca house with water connection, toilet facilities, 24 X 7 electricity supply and access.”
While the address covered more or less most of the pronouncements Modi has already made at different fora — before and after the election results — it, significantly, endorsed the India-US nuclear deal, skipped references to the UPA’s flagship programmes.
So it avoided mention of the rural employment guarantee and food security schemes and suggested changes in the UPA’s big-banner health and urban development schemes: National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
“The international civil nuclear agreements will be operationalised and nuclear power projects for civilian purposes will be developed,” Mukherjee said. This is a marked departure from BJP’s earlier position where it had voted against the UPA on the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement in 2008. The BJP, in fact, had also put a legislative spanner in subsequent legislation on civil nuclear liability law which eventually deterred nuclear power equipment suppliers from participating in setting up of nuclear power plants in India.
The indication by the President to operationalise the Indo-US nuclear agreement appears an attempt by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise to take the “good work” of previous governments, including UPA, forward.
“I congratulate all previous Governments and their leaders. We will take their good work ahead & work harder to fulfil people’s dreams & aspirations,” Modi had said in his post on Twitter on May 20.
The speech suggested the launch of a “National Health Assurance Mission” (NHAM) under a “New Health Policy”. While the speech ignored mention of JNNURM, the President echoed Modi’s campaign promise to take “urbanization as an opportunity” and promised to “build 100 Cities focussed on specialized domains and equipped with world class amenities” signalling departure from JNNURM’s focus on old cities.
Additionally, the speech indicated renewed focus to irrigation promising to launch “Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana” with the motto of “Har Khet Ko Paani” while downplaying the interlinking of rivers, a project envisaged during previous BJP-led NDA regime, as one of the options for the proposed programme.
As for the other components of Bharat Nirman for rural areas, President’s speech has echoed Modi’s concept of “Rurban” continued…