Budget Session of Parliament begins with President’s address to joint sitting of both the Houses

President Droupadi Murmu has asserted that the grand edifice of a developed India will stand on four strong pillars of youth power, women power, farmers and the poor.  She said their situation and dreams are similar in every part and every section of society in the country and her government has spent a significant portion of the tax revenues to empower these pillars. Addressing the joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament today, she said, India has seen completion of many such works in national interest in the last ten years for which people were waiting for decades. The President highlighted the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya saying people were hopeful for it for centuries and that dream has been fulfilled now. She also listed the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, banning triple talaq and other measures taken by the government in the last ten years.  President Murmu said the achievements that people are seeing today are the extension of the practices of the last ten years.  She added that people were hearing the slogan of ‘Garibi Hatao’ for a long time and today, for the first time the country is witnessing that poverty is being alleviated on a large scale.  She informed that in the last one decade about 25 crore countrymen have been lifted out of poverty which is something that instills great confidence among the poor.

The President also observed that the last year was full of accomplishments for India as the country became the fastest-growing economy as well as the first nation to reach the south pole of the Moon. She added that the successful G20 Summit hosted by India strengthened the role of the country in the world. The President said, India got its first Namo Bharat train and the first Amrit Bharat train last year and it became the country with the fastest 5G rollout in the world.

Highlighting legislative achievements of the government, the President lauded enactment of the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam after a wait of three decades which has paved the way for ensuring greater participation of women in the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies. She said the nation has got a new Nyaya Sanhita based on the principle of Justice First while the Digital Personal Data Protection Act will make the digital space more secure.

Touching upon the agriculture sector, the President said the government is laying stress on making farming more profitable and the aim is to reduce the cost of farming while increasing profits. She added for the first time, the government has given priority to over ten crore small farmers in the country’s agricultural policy and schemes.

Talking about the Indian economy, the President said  India has transformed from a fragile five to a top five economy of the world. She said the world witnessed two major conflicts and COVID-19 pandemic in the past years and despite such global crises, the government has kept inflation under control. She said, Make in India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat have become the strengths of the country.  She added that  India’s exports have increased from about 450 billion dollars to more than 775 billion dollars and the number of people filing Income Tax Return has increased from around 3.25 crores to about 8.25 crores.  She also said, Capex has increased five times to ten lakh crore rupees in ten years and the fiscal deficit is also under control.  The President also said the country’s banking system, which was in a very bad shape earlier, has today become one of the strongest banking systems in the world and NPAs are today around only four percent.

The President said, in 2014-15, nearly two thousand EVs were sold in the country and by December 2023, nearly 15 lakhs have been sold. She said, in the last 10 years, the government has made good governance and transparency the basis of every system and this is the reason why the nation has seen several economic developments. She said, Digital India has made life easier for people and the MSME sector has benefited due to reforms. President Murmu said, India is very close to full electrification of Railways. She elaborated that around 3.75 lakh kilometers of new roads have been built in the villages while the length of National Highways has increased from 90 thousand kilometers to one  lakh 46 thousand kilometres in the last ten years. The President also lauded defence production crossing the one lakh crore rupees mark.

The President said, Government is building modern infrastructure on the borders. She said, Indian Armed Forces are giving befitting reply to terrorism. President Murmu said, the meaningful results of the government’s efforts for internal peace are in front of the people. She said, there is an atmosphere of security and safety in Jammu and Kashmir and there has been a huge drop in incidents of naxal violence in the country.

She added that government has implemented One Rank One Pension, which was awaited for four decades. After implementation of OROP,the ex-servicemen have by now received around   one lakh crore rupees.

Underling that the government is focussed on human-centric development,  President Murmu asserted that the dignity of every citizen is paramount for  the Centre. This is the idea of social justice and the spirit of every article of the Constitution of India. The President said, her Government has also taken care of those who were far away from development, so far. She said, in the last 10 years, electricity and road connectivity reached for the first time in thousands of tribal villages. President Murmu said, lakhs of tribal families have started getting clean water through pipelines. She said, under a special drive, the government is taking 4G internet connectivity to thousands of tribal-dominated villages. The President said, in tribal families, several generations have suffered from sickle cell anaemia and for the first time, a national mission has been started for this. She said, around 1.40 crore have had checkups under this, so far.

Reiterating the mantra of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas”,  she said the government is committed to provide fair opportunities to every section of the society. She said for the first time, the benefit of reservation has been extended to persons belonging to economically weaker sections of the general category and the Constitutional status has been granted to the National Commission for Backward Classes. She added that 5 places associated with Baba Saheb Ambedkar have been developed as Panchteerth while ten museums dedicated to tribal freedom fighters are being built across the country.

Saying that the government is continuously taking new initiatives for the education and skill development of India’s youth, she added that a new National Education Policy was framed and is being implemented rapidly. The President also said that the centre is working on more than 14 thousand  ‘PM Shri Vidyalayas’ to provide quality education to school students.

President Murmu also said there were seven AIIMS and less than 390 medical colleges in the country upto 2014, while, in the last decade 16 AIIMS and 315 medical colleges have been established.

Talking about India’s foreign policy, the President said even in this era of global disputes and conflicts, her government has firmly placed India’s interests before the world. She added that the scope of India’s foreign policy today has gone far beyond the constraints of the past. She also said today India is a respected member of many global organizations and it is a leading voice in the world against terrorism.

The President said, this is her first address in the new Parliament building. She said, the grand building has been built at the beginning of the Amrit Kaal and it has the fragrance of Ek Bharat, Shreshth Bharat. She expressed confidence that there will be meaningful conversation on policies in this new building.

A copy of the President’s address to the joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament has been tabled in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Later the two houses were adjourned for the day.

Earlier, in the Rajya Sabha nominated member Satnam Singh Sandhu and Swati Maliwal and Narain Das Gupta of Aam Aadmi Party took oath. Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar announced the revocation of the suspension of 11 opposition members who were suspended in the winter session for their unruly behaviour. However, the Privileges Committee of the Upper House had found these MPs guilty of breach of privilege and contempt of the Council of States, but the Chairman revoked their suspension treating their suspension period as punishment.

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