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Prez outlines Modi agenda

Prez outlines Modi agenda
Highlights

President Pranab Mukherjee Outlines Narendra Modi Agenda. President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday outlined the agenda of the newly-elected Modi-led BJP government for reviving Brand India.

Assures that justice will be done to people of T and AP

Echoing the election theme of the BJP of Ek Bharat, Shreshth Bharat and Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, he said this would be achieved through Minimum Govt and Maximum Governance

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday outlined the agenda of the newly-elected Modi-led BJP government for reviving Brand India. Narrating the statement of intent of the new government, the President expressed optimism of achieving it by riding on the strength of 5 Ts --Tradition, Talent, Tourism, Trade and Technology.

Addressing the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament in the historic Central Hall, the President held out an assurance to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh that the Centre would do justice to the people of both States, which were formed on June 2. “My Government is committed to addressing the issues relating to development of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana,” he said.

The President described the 2014 General Election as one of Hope, with people voting in favour of a single political party after a gap of 30 years. The government, he assured, would boost the confidence and morale in bureaucracy and put in place transparent systems and time-bound delivery of government services. In his hour-long speech, all the campaign promises of Modi were listed out as agenda of the BJP-led NDA government thus transforming the rhetoric into pragmatic policies.

Prime Minister Modi who represents Varanasi in the Lok Sabha has prioritised cleaning of the Ganga. Describing the river Ganga as part of a rich and cultural heritage, a symbol of faith and lifeline for millions, the President said that the government would take steps to ensure a perennial, clean and pristine Ganga. Initiating a mission mode to create 50 tourist circuits built around specific themes, he said Pilgrim Tourism would also be given a boost.

Promising to end the rural-urban divide, he said the government would be guided by the idea of Rurban – providing urban amenities to rural areas, while preserving the ethos of the villages. With 50 per cent of the population expected to be residing in urban areas soon, he said the Government would treat this more as an opportunity than as a challenge and would build 100 cities with world-class amenities.

By the time of 75 years of Indian Independence in 2022, every family will have pucca house, with water connection, toilet facilities and 24x7 power supply. After two consecutive years of less than 5 per cent growth, he said the paramount objective was to put the economy back on the track.

“We will work together to usher our economy into a 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.

Reforms will be undertaken to enhance the ease of doing business. It will also embark on rationalisation and simplification of the tax regime to make it non-adversarial and conducive to investment and make every attempt to introduce GST while addressing the concerns of the States.

Touching upon corruption, the President said as a first step the SIT had been set up to unearth black money stashed abroad. This would be followed up vigorously by proactively engaging with foreign governments. He committed the government to providing a clean and efficient administration focusing on delivery.

The Lokpal is important to curb corruption and the government would formulate rules in conformity with the Act. He said AIIMS, IIMs and IITs would come up in every state. The government would formulate new Health Policy and roll out National Health Assurance Mission besides promoting Yoga and AYUSH.

IANS reports: The president also reminded assembled lawmakers in the Central Hall of parliament that people must come first and serving them should be their top priority, without any room for corruption, in a transpar ent manner.

Listing poverty elimination and control of inflation as the two top immediate priorities of the new government, the President also said the clear mandate given by the people was to see a vibrant and prosperous India that regains the admiration of the global community.

"Brimming with hope and expectation, they want quick results," he said, adding: "We must rise to the occasion to fulfil these great expectations. In 60 months from now, we must be able to say with confidence and pride that we have done it."

In the speech, the President not only made simple yet welcome promises on behalf of the new government like all-weather houses for every family and basic amenities like water and electricity for all, but also sought to list and address specific needs of virtually every constituency and issue -- from minorities, youth and women to education, industry and foreign policy.

To the youth, he said barriers between formal education and skill development would be done away with, and announced a national multi-skill mission. To women he promised effective measures to curb violence against them and 33 per cent reservation in all elected bodies.

The president also said Indians must not tolerate indignity of homes without toilets and public spaces littered with garbage.

In a bid to ensure better hygiene, waste management and sanitation, he announced a "Swachh Bharat" or a clean India mission as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi.

At the same time, he announced equal opportunities in areas like education, livelihood and health to not just the socially deprived and weaker sections, but minorities as well.

"Government will especially strengthen measures to spread modern and technical education among minority communities and a National Madrassa Modernization Programme will be initiated," the president said, adding care would also be provided to the specially-abled people as part of government’s vision of a caring society.

Reacting somewhat to the developments in recent months that had led to perceived policy paralysis due to fear among bureaucrats to take decisions, the President said while it would indeed set up a Lok Pal, or ombudsman to curb corruption, it would also make the environment conducive to work.

To the investing community, domestic and overseas, the President assured that the ease of doing business in India would improve and tax laws made more predictable, even as encouragement would be given to labour-intensive manufacturing and overseas capital that creates jobs.

The speech also had some specific measures to announce, such as a sea network that then gets connected with the hinterland, high-speed trains, a new energy policy, transparent allotment of natural resources, 100 new modern cities, interlinking rivers, waterways, converting employment exchanges into career centres and agri-rail networks.

With an audience that included the diplomatic corps in the visitors' gallery of the Central Hall, the president also said the new National Democratic Alliance government would continue to maintain good relations with all countries, adding that the invitation to the leaders of India's neighbours for the inauguration event of Modi was a signal in that regard.

Narendra Modi had invited leaders of SAARC countries for his swearing-in ceremony on May 26.

Apart from improving ties with countries in the immediate neighbourhood, the President specifically listed China, Japan, Russia, the US and those in Europe as nations with which India would like to partner strategically and in areas including trade and investment, science and technology, and energy and education.

On security, he said a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism, extremism, riots and crime would be pursued, the defence forces would be strengthened, foreign equity norms on production of defence-related equipment would be eased and a national maritime authority set up.

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