Highlights of President’a address to the Joint Sitting of Parliament outlining the policies to boost growth and create jobs
President Pranab Mukherjee began by extending warm greetings to fellow citizens of India, who participated in large numbers in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. He also congratulated the Election Commission of India and the official machinery for conducting these elections successfully. “The unprecedented interest shown by the people of India in the elections is a sign of progressive deepening of our vibrant democracy. The electorate transcended the boundaries of caste, creed, region and religion to come together and vote decisively in favour of Development through Good Governance. They have voted for a united, strong, and modern India – “Ek Bharat – Shreshtha Bharat” he said.
The highlights of the President’s speech are as follows :
· The government will function on the mantra of ‘Minimum Government, Maximum Governance’.
· The government will be committed to the goal of ‘poverty elimination’ rather than ‘poverty alleviation
· The government will stress on putting in place transparent systems and time-bound delivery of government services. Obsolete laws, regulations, administrative structures and practices to be modified to improve efficiency.
· Information Technology will be used to drive re-engineering of government processes to improve service delivery and programme implementation. Wi-Fi zones in critical public areas to be set up in the next five years.
· A multi-pronged approach to be adopted to address the problem of high pendency of cases in our judicial system.
· Vacancies in judiciary to be filled up on priority; number of courts and judges in the subordinate judiciary to be doubled in a phased manner.
· Containing food inflation will be the topmost priority with an emphasis on improving the supply side of various agro and agro-based products.
· Public Distribution System will be reformed incorporating best practices from the States.
Agriculture & Rural Development
· Amenities to be provided in rural areas through empowered Panchayati Raj institutions.
· Investment in agriculture, both public and private, to be stepped up especially in Agri-infrastructure.
· The government to address issues pertaining to pricing and procurement of agricultural produce, crop insurance and post-harvest management.
· The government will also incentivize the setting up of food processing industries
· a National Land Use Policy which will facilitate scientific identification of non-cultivable land and its strategic development will be adopted.
· ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana’ will be launched to complete the long pending irrigation projects.
· Micro irrigation to be popularised to ensure ‘Per drop-More crop’.
Policies to revive the economy
· Predictable, transparent and fair policy environment to be adopted to revive economic growth.
· The government will embark upon rationalisation and simplification of the tax regime to make it non-adversarial and conducive to investment, enterprise and growth.
· Reforms to be undertaken to enhance the ease of doing business. It will follow a policy of encouraging investments, including through FDI; which will be allowed in sectors that help create jobs and assets.
· The government will make every effort to introduce the GST while addressing the concerns of States.
· For rapid creation of jobs in the manufacturing sector, the government will strategically promote
· A fast-track, investment friendly and predictable PPP mechanism will be put in place.
· Modernization and revamping of Railways is on top of the infrastructure agenda. The government will launch a Diamond Quadrilateral project of high speed trains.
· A time-bound and well monitored programme for execution of the National Highways programme to be initiated, to overcome the stagnancy of the past few years.
· Low cost airports to be developed to promote air connectivity to smaller towns.
· The government will facilitate modernization of existing ports on one hand, and development of new world class ports on the other.
· Inland and coastal waterways to be developed as major transport routes.
· The government will build 100 Cities focussed on specialized domains and equipped with world class amenities
· The government will initiate a mission mode project to create 50 tourist circuits that are built around specific themes.
· The government will soon come out with a comprehensive National Energy Policy.
· The national solar mission to be expanded.
· The international civil nuclear agreements to be operationalized and nuclear power projects for civilian purposes will be developed.
· Reforms in the coal sector will be pursued with urgency for attracting private investment in a transparent manner.
· The government strongly believes that environmental conservation can go hand in hand with development.
· Environment and forest clearance systems will be made more predictable, transparent and time-bound. Simultaneously, an effective system will be developed for sound appraisal processes and strict compliance of clearance conditions
HRD and Skill development
· The government will set up Massive Open Online Courses and virtual classrooms in order to break the barriers between formal education and skill development.
· IITs and IIMs will be set up in every state.
· In order to empower school teachers and students, a national e-library will be established.
· World class research centres to be built in the fields of nanotechnology, material sciences, thorium technology, brain research, stem cells, etc.
· The government will also establish Iinstitutes of Technology for Rural Development and a Central University of Himalayan Studies.
· The government will formulate a New Health Policy and roll out a National Health Assurance Mission. AIIMS like institutes will be established in every State in a phased manner.
· For ensuring hygiene, waste management and sanitation across the nation a “Swachh Bharat Mission” will be launched.
Welfare & Empowerment
· For the Scheduled Tribes, a dedicated “Van Bandhu Kalyan Yojana” will be launched.
· Electrification of tribal hamlets and connecting them with all-weather roads will be given priority.
· The government will especially strengthen measures to spread modern and technical education among minority communities and a National Madarsa Modernization Programme will be initiated.
· To promote empowerment of girl-child the government will launch a mass campaign ‘Beti Bachao – Beti Padhao” for saving the girl child and enabling her education
· The government will pursue a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism, extremism, riots and crime will be pursued.
· States will be assisted for modernizing police infrastructure and equipment to tackle new forms of terrorism including narco terrorism and cyber threats.
· Government will carry out reforms in defence procurement to increase efficiency and economy. It will also encourage domestic industry, including the private sector; to have a larger share in design and production of defence equipment.
· The government will be committed to strengthening defence preparedness by modernising our Armed Forces and addressing the shortage of manpower on priority.
· A Veterans Commission to be appointed to address the grievances of retired defence personnel.
· The government will build a National War Memorial to honour the gallantry of our soldiers.
· One Rank, One Pension scheme to be implemented.
International Relations :
· The Government will engage energetically with other neighbours in our region, including China, with whom we will work to further develop our Strategic and Cooperative Partnership
· India-US relationship to be given a boost to intensify engagements in the areas of trade, investment, science and technology, energy and education.