Presenting a report card of the Narendra Modi government, which is nearing completion of its tenure, President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday listed its achievements, referring to its schemes and asserting that it had given hope to people when the country was passing through an uncertain period.
The President, addressing a joint sitting of both Houses to mark the beginning of the Budget Session, said: “Prior to the 2014 general election, the country was passing through a phase of uncertainty. After the elections, my government assumed charge and vowed to build a New India. A New India with no place for imperfect, corrupt and inertia-ridden systems.”
“In the last four and a half years, my government has infused new hope and confidence among the people of the country, enhanced the country’s image and has effectively brought in social and economic change. As a result, my government has been able to win immeasurable affection and trust of the people. The main goal of my government is to improve the life of every Indian,” he said.
With the Lok Sabha elections due soon, the President’s speech offered an overview of the government’s policies but made no fresh promises. However, Kovind did say that the government was attempting to find “permanent solutions” to the problems faced by farmers. This was seen as an indication of a possible announcement of a farm relief package in the interim Budget on Friday.
Describing the 10 per cent quota as historic, Kovind said that from day one, the government’s mission, based on transparency, was to improve the lives of citizens, to eradicate their difficulties owing to poor governance, and to make sure that the benefits of public services reached the lowest strata of society. He said that 21 crore poor people had been covered under the PM’s life insurance scheme, while more than 2 crore households had got power connection as part of the Saubhagya scheme. “Under the Swachh Bharat initiative, the government has built 9 crore toilets,” he said.
Referring to the Rafale deal, Kovind said: “After a gap of many decades… Air Force is preparing to welcome, in the coming months, its new generation ultra-modern fighter aircraft Rafale and strengthen its strike capability.”
He said demonetisation had struck at the root of the parallel economy which was thriving on black money.
Kovind said India was now playing a significant role in international trade. “While India’s contribution to the world GDP was 2.6 per cent in 2014, it has increased to 3.3 per cent in 2017 as per the latest reports,” he said.
Regarding the triple talaq Bill, he said the government was seeking to “liberate Muslim daughters” from a life of fear and anxiety and provide them with equal rights. Referring to the citizenship Bill, which has triggered protests in the Northeast, Kovind said it would give justice through Indian nationality to persecuted minorities of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.