My Government wants to make the people conscious, capable : Ram Nath Kovind

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On June 19, President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind addressed to the members of both houses of parliament seating together. In his address, he highlighted government policies and plan for upcoming year. He said that that his Government wanted to make the people conscious, capable, well-provided. Here, we are giving summary of Presidential address for our esteemed readers :

During the last five years, the countrymen have come to believe that the Government is always with them, working to improve their lives and to enhance their Ease of Living. Based on this wealth of people’s trust, a fresh mandate was sought.

People of the country have long waited for the basic amenities of life. But now the conditions are changing. My Government wants to make the people conscious, capable, well-provided and unfettered to such an extent that that they do not feel the “Burden, Force, or Absence” of the Government in their daily life. Empowering every person in the country is the main goal of my Government.

Three weeks ago, on 30th May, immediately after swearing-in the Government has started working towards building a New India. A New India:

– Where equal opportunities to progress are available to every person;

– Where life of every person becomes better and their self-esteem is enhanced;

– Where brotherhood and harmony bind the people with each other;

– Where the foundation built on our ideals and values becomes stronger; and

– Where the benefits of development reach every region and the last person standing in the queue.

It is a matter of pride for every Indian that when our country completes 75 years of independence in 2022, we would have achieved many national goals for building a New India. To pave the way for the golden future of New India, my Government has resolved :

On this path of a New India, the rural India will be strong and urban India will also be empowered;

On this path of a New India, the entrepreneurial India will attain new heights and the dreams of young India will also be fulfilled;

On this path of a New India, all systems will be transparent and the prestige of honest countrymen will increase further;

On this path of a New India, infrastructure for the 21st century will be built and all resources for creation of a powerful India will be mobilised.

In the light of these resolutions, in a short period of 21 days, my Government has taken many decisions aimed at the welfare of farmers, soldiers, students, entrepreneurs, women and other sections of society and have also started implementing them. Initiatives have also been taken to enact several new laws.

A decision has been taken to increase the income support to farmers who are our Annadaata, by extending the coverage under ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi’, to every farmer in the country. To enable the farmer brothers and sisters who work day and night in their fields to lead a respectable life after attaining the age of 60 years, a ‘Pension Scheme’ for them has also been approved.

Livestock is invaluable for farmers. They have to spend a lot of money for treatment of cattle-related diseases. To reduce this expenditure, my Government has also decided to start a special scheme with an allocation of Rs 13,000 crore.

For the first time, a Government has taken note of the economic security of small shopkeepers. In the very first meeting of the Cabinet, a separate ‘Pension Scheme’ has been approved for small shopkeepers and retail traders. About 3 crore small shopkeepers in the country will benefit from this scheme.

It is our duty to secure the future of children of those who guard the border, and ensure peace and security for everyone. Inspired by this sentiment, the amount of scholarship under the ‘National Defence Fund’ has been increased for the children of our brave soldiers. For the first time, sons and daughters of the State police personnel have also been included in this scholarship.

One of the biggest challenges of the 21st century is – the growing water crisis. Over time, the traditional and effective practices of water conservation in our country are disappearing. Houses have come up over ponds and lakes, and the vanishing water sources have accentuated the water crisis for the poor. In view of the growing impact of Climate Change and Global Warming, water crisis is likely to aggravate further. Today, the need of the hour is that the way the country has shown seriousness about ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’, the same seriousness be shown in ‘Water Conservation and Management’.

We must conserve water for our children and future generations. The creation of the new ‘Ministry of Jalshakti’ is a decisive step in this direction, which will have far-reaching benefits. Through this new Ministry, the systems related to water conservation and management will be made more effective.

My Government is fully conscious of the crisis in the drought-hit areas and stands by every affected citizen. With the support of State Governments and Sarpanches at the village level, it is being ensured that farmers are assisted and the scarcity of drinking water is tackled.

Large scale investments have been made to strengthen rural India. In order to enhance agriculture productivity, an investment of Rs. 25 lakh crore will be made in the coming years.

To double the income of farmers by 2022, several steps have been taken in the last 5 years. Be it the decision to increase the MSP, or approval for 100 percent FDI in food processing; be it completion of the irrigation projects pending for decades or extension of ‘Crop Insurance Scheme’; be it the ‘Soil Health Card’ or 100% Neem coating of urea; my Government has taken many decisions, appreciating such numerous small and big needs of the farmers. The Government has made the agriculture policy both production-centric as well as income-centric.

An important link in these efforts is ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi’. Through this, an amount of more than Rs. 12,000 crore has been disbursed to the farmers in just three months. An estimated expenditure of Rs. 90,000 crore is likely to be incurred annually on this scheme since every farmer has now been brought in its ambit.

Now the storage facility will be provided to the farmers near their village through the ‘Grameen Bhandaran Yojana’.

The benefit of cooperatives in the agriculture sector is being availed by the farmers in the dairy business. In other areas of agriculture also, the target is to create 10,000 new ‘Farmer Producer Organisations’ to benefit the farmers.

Today, India is second in the world in fish production. Our country has the potential to attain the first place. A separate Department has been constituted for integrated development of fisheries. Similarly, a special fund has been created to develop infrastructure related to fishing industry.

We can achieve our constitutional objectives only by liberating the poor families of the country from poverty. During the last five years, the schemes implemented in the country for the welfare of farmers, labourers, divyangjan, tribals and women have achieved wide spread success. Only by empowering the poor can they be rescued from the vicious cycle of poverty. That is why the Government has adopted an approach to empower the poor, deprived and weaker sections through provision of housing, healthcare, essential amenities of life, financial inclusion, education, skill and self-employment. This is in harmony with Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s concept of Antyodaya.

Comprehensive work is underway for the development of 112 ‘Aspirational Districts’ in the country. 1 lakh 15 thousand most backward villages of the country are in these districts. With the development of education and healthcare facilities and infrastructure in these villages, there will be a positive impact on the lives of crores of poor families.

Under ‘Ayushman Bharat Yojana’ so far about 26 lakh poor patients have availed treatment in hospitals. In order to provide medicines at affordable rates, 5,300 ‘Jan Aushadhi Kendras’ have also been opened. It is our endeavour to provide medicines at affordable rates to people residing in far-flung areas through these Jan Aushadhi Kendras.

The objective is to set up about 1.5 lakh ‘Health and Wellness Centres’ in all rural areas by 2022. So far, about 18,000 such Centres have already been operationalised.

Our countrymen can learn a lot from tribal communities. Our tribal brothers and sisters live in harmony with the environment and nature and maintain a beautiful balance between development and tradition. In New India, every effort will be made to create an inclusive and sensitive system in the interest of tribal communities.

Many schemes have been implemented for all-round development of tribal areas. Work is in progress to provide ‘Learning to Earning’ facilities to the youth residing in the forest areas. In tribal dominated areas, ‘Eklavya Model Residential Schools’ are being set up for children. The thrust is on value addition and marketing of forest produce through Van Dhan Kendras.

The ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign has brought down female foeticide and improved the sex ratio in many districts of the country.

Rural women are the biggest beneficiaries of freedom from smoke through ‘Ujjwala Yojana’, vaccination through ‘Mission Indradhanush’ and free electricity connections under ‘Saubhagya’ Yojana. Women are also being given priority in the registration of houses built under ‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana’ in the rural areas. Under this scheme, nearly 2 crore new houses will be built in the villages during the next three years.

Self-employment opportunities are being made available to rural women through ‘Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Rashtriya Aajivika Mission. Under the ‘Rashtriya Aajivika Mission’, loans amounting to more than Rs 2 lakh crore have been disbursed so far to 3 crore women in rural areas.

To secure equal rights for every sister and daughter in the country, eradication of social evils like ‘Triple Talaq’ and ‘Nikah-Halala’ is imperative. I would urge all the members to cooperate in these efforts to make the lives of our sisters and daughters better and dignified.

In the last five years, attempts have been made for developing the skills of the youth, providing them financial support for start-ups and self-employment, and making available adequate number of seats for higher education. The amount of scholarship has also been increased by 25 per cent.

The Government has made provision of 10 per cent reservation for youth from economically weaker section of the general category. This will enable them to get more opportunities in employment and education.

To enable the youth of all strata of society to fulfil their dreams, timely provision of financial resources is being emphasised. Under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna’, about 19 crore loans have been disbursed for self-employment. An effort will now be made to cover 30 crore people by expanding this scheme. A facility for entrepreneurs to avail loan up to Rs. 50 lakh without any guarantee will also be introduced.

Today India has joined the league of countries with most number of start-ups in the world. To improve the start-up ecosystem, the Government is simplifying the rules. This campaign will be further expedited. Our goal is to establish 50,000 start-ups in the country by 2024.

Research is being encouraged in higher educational institutions. To further strengthen this effort, it is proposed to establish a ‘National Research Foundation’. This proposed foundation will work as a bridge between different Departments of the Central Government, science laboratories, higher educational institutions and industrial institutions.

To enable various higher educational institutions of India to find a place in the top 500 educational institutions of the world, they are being encouraged through grant of autonomy and financial assistance.

My Government is striving to increase the number of seats in the country’s Higher Education System by one-and-a-half times by 2024. With this initiative, 2 crore additional seats would be available for the youth in higher educational institutions.

It is our responsibility to provide appropriate opportunities, environment and quality education to enhance the talent of children. In this regard, the ‘Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme’ will be started.

In order to attract children early enough, at the school level, towards technology, suitable infrastructure is being created. Through the ‘Atal Innovation Mission’, the work of establishing ‘Atal Tinkering Labs’ in about 9,000 schools across the country, is progressing rapidly. Similarly, ‘Atal Incubation Centres’ are being set up in 102 universities and other institutions.

To identify the players at the state and district level, it has been decided to widen the ‘Khelo-India Programme’. Under this, 2,500 talented players have been selected, and are being trained. Now this facility will be provided to 2,500 new players every year.

The sports infrastructure in the country will be modernised as well as expanded. A new system is being evolved to make available modern infrastructure and facilities to the players. It is our endeavour that our players win high accolades in the sports world and enhance the prestige of our country.

Economic development plays the most vital role in improving the lives of our countrymen. Today India is among the fastest growing economies in the world. Inflation is low, fiscal deficit is under control, foreign exchange reserves are growing and the impact of Make In India is clearly visible.

India is now on the way to become the world’s 5th largest economy in terms of GDP. To maintain the high growth rate, reform process will continue. It is our objective to make India a 5-trillion dollar economy by 2024.

Work is underway in full earnest to transform India into a Global Manufacturing Hub. Keeping in view Industry 4.0, a New Industrial Policy will be announced shortly. In ‘Ease of Doing Business’, India has leap-frogged 65 positions during the past 5 years, from a ranking of 142 in 2014 to 77. Now our goal is to be among the top 50 countries of the world. In order to achieve this, process of simplification of rules will be further expedited in collaboration with the States. In this sequence, necessary amendments are also being brought in the Companies Law.

Taxation regime plays an important role in accelerating economic development. Along with continuous reform, simplification of taxation system is also being emphasised. Exemption to persons earning up to Rs. 5 lakh from payment of income tax is an important step in this direction.

Similarly, indirect tax system is also being made simple and effective. With the implementation of GST, the concept of ‘One country, One tax, One market’ has become a reality. Efforts to further simplify the GST will continue.

Keeping in view the interests of small traders, my Government has launched a New Pension Scheme for them. ‘National Traders Welfare Board’ will be constituted shortly, and ‘National Retail Trade Policy’ will be formulated to promote retail business. Accident insurance of up to Rs. 10 lakh will also be provided to all traders registered under GST.

MSME sector provides a strong foundation to the country’s economy, and plays a critical role in employment generation. Several steps have been taken to ensure smooth cash flow to enterprises run by small entrepreneurs. In order to ensure that entrepreneurs associated with MSME sector do not face any problem in accessing credit, the credit guarantee coverage is being enhanced to Rs. 1 lakh crore.
Good governance reduces corruption, enhances self-respect of the citizens and enables them to optimally utilize their talents and capabilities.

My Government will make the Zero Tolerance Policy against corruption more comprehensive and effective. The mission to eliminate corruption from public life and Government services will be implemented with greater zeal. Towards this objective, Minimum Government – Maximum Governance will be further emphasised. In addition, use of technology will be maximised to reduce Human Interface. Appointment of Lokpal will also promote transparency.

The campaign against black money will be taken forward at a faster pace. During the last two years, 4 lakh 25 thousand Company Directors have been disqualified and the registration of 3 lakh 50 thousand suspicious companies has been revoked.
The ‘Fugitive and Economic Offenders Act’ has proved effective in controlling fugitive economic offenders. Now we are receiving information in this regard from 146 countries, including Switzerland. Of these, we have concluded agreements with 80 countries for automatic exchange of information. We are now receiving information about all those who have stashed black money abroad.

The impact of ‘Real Estate Regulation Act’ or RERA is clearly visible in curbing black money transactions in real estate sector and protecting the interests of the customers; providing huge relief to the middle class families.

‘Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code’ is among the biggest and most impactful economic reforms undertaken in the country. With the coming into force of this Code, banks and other financial institutions have been able to settle directly or indirectly an amount of more than Rs. 3 lakh 50 thousand crore. This Code has also curbed the tendency of wilfully defaulting on loans taken from banks and other financial institutions.

Under the ‘Direct Benefit Transfer’, funds from more than400 schemes are being directly credited into the accounts of beneficiaries. During the last five years, Rs. 7 lakh 30 thousand crore have been transferred through DBT. So far, not only has DBT prevented Rs. 1 lakh 41 thousand crore from falling into wrong hands, but it has also enabled deletion of names of about 8 crore ineligible beneficiaries. DBT will be further expanded in the coming days. I would urge the State Governments to use DBT in more and more schemes.

My Government’s continuous endeavour has been to build infrastructure in an eco-friendly manner. Along with concrete, greenery has been made an integral part of the highway and expressway projects. For supply of electricity, optimal utilisation of solar energy is being stressed. Household and industrial wastes are also being used in road construction.

In the 21st century economy, the pace and spread of urbanization will continue to increase. Development of urban infrastructure in cities and suburbs will pave the way for economic progress and enhance employment opportunities. My Government is tirelessly working for a modern India, by providing world-class infrastructure and public amenities in villages as well as cities. Special emphasis is being accorded to improving connectivity in the North-East, hilly and tribal areas. In addition to increasing the ease of living of citizens in the North-East; tourism, agriculture and other allied sectors will also benefit from better connectivity. Effective steps are being taken to expand organic farming in the North-East.

Under the ‘Bharatmala Project’, construction or upgradation of about 35,000 kilometers of National Highways is to be undertaken by 2022. In addition, under the ‘Sagarmala Project’, a network of good quality roads is being constructed in coastal areas and areas adjoining ports.

Along with the highways, Government is also working extensively in the area of Railways, Airways and Inland Waterways. Under the ‘UDAN Scheme’, air connectivity to smaller towns is being expanded rapidly.

Urban transport infrastructure is being created to cater to present and future requirements. . My Government is developing a transport system, which is not only fast and safe, but is also environment friendly. For this, special emphasis is given to Public transport. Metro rail network is being expanded rapidly in several cities. The facility of ‘One Nation, One Card’ has been launched to realize the dream of seamless mobility. Similarly, electric vehicles are being promoted to reduce vehicular pollution. The network of electric charging stations is also being expanded rapidly.

Modern amenities like gas-grid and I-Ways are being developed at a rapid pace. PNG based domestic fuel and CNG based transportation systems are being developed. In modern India, we are according a special emphasis on production of bio-fuel. Prior to 2014, about 67 crore litres of ethanol was being blended. This year, we have set a target of about 270 crore litres for ethanol blending. Enhancing the use of blended ethanol will not only benefit our farmers but also safeguard the environment. Further, it will reduce import of petroleum products thus saving foreign exchange.

My Government is fully devoted to make the flow of Ganga uninterrupted and pollution free. Recently, encouraging evidence of revival of aquatic life at several locations along Ganga have been reported. This year, during the Ardhakumbh in Prayagraj, the cleanliness of Ganga and amenities provided to the devotees have made news throughout the world. My Government has enhanced the dignity and self-esteem of every person who contributed towards the successful organization of Ardhakumbh by honouring them.

Under the ‘Namami Gange’ scheme, my Government will further accelerate the campaign for closure of drains releasing effluents in the river Ganga. On the lines of river Ganga, the Government will also endeavour to clean up other rivers such as Kaveri, Periyar, Narmada, Yamuna, Mahanadi and Godavari.

My Government is making earnest efforts for conservation of forests, wildlife and the environment. In recent years, forest and tree cover has increased by more than 1 per cent. During the last five years, protected areas in the country have also increased. In 2014, the number of protected areas in the country was 692, which has now gone up to 868. To address the challenges posed by air pollution, ‘National Clean Air Programme’ has been started in 102 cities.

Solar energy plays an important role in reducing the adverse effects of Climate Change and Global Warming. Proactive efforts of India have resulted in the formation of the International Solar Alliance. Through this organization, India is contributing significantly to the development of solar energy in the developing countries of the world.

Space Technology plays a central role in improving the lives of the common man, providing early-warning of impending disasters, identifying location of natural resources, providing signals to various means of communication and ensuring national security. It is the endeavour of my Government to maximize the use of space technology for human welfare. Several facilities such as roads, houses for poor, farming or equipment for fishermen have all been linked to space technology.

Space technology has helped us in further strengthening our security at land, air and water. Our expertise in accurate weather forecast has improved. This was evidenced during the recent ‘Cyclone Phani‘ that struck the eastern coast of the country. Due to accurate information and timely preparation, large scale destruction to life and property was averted.

India is marching forward to assume a leadership role in unravelling and comprehending the mysteries of space. Our scientists are involved in the preparations for the launch of ‘Chandrayaan-2’, which will be India’s first spacecraft to reach the Moon. We are also making rapid progress towards achieving the goal of sending the first Indian in India’s own ‘Gaganyaan’ by 2022.

With the successful testing of ‘Mission Shakti’ a new dimension has been added to India’s capability in space technology and security-preparedness. For this, today I once again congratulate our scientists and engineers.

The role of technology in the field of security is expanding continuously. Keeping this in view, work is in progress to establish three joint service agencies for space, cyber and special forces. These collaborative efforts will strengthen the security of the country.

New India is rapidly moving towards occupying its rightful place in the world community. Today, India has acquired a new image and our relations with other countries have become stronger. It is a matter of immense pleasure that in 2022, India will host the G-20 Summit.

The world community enthusiastically supported India’s proposal to declare June 21st as ‘International Day of Yoga’ by the United Nations. At present, several programmes associated with International Day of Yoga are being organized with great enthusiasm in various countries, of which the most important events will be held tomorrow, the 21st June.

The world community supports India’s position on various issues such as climate change, economic and cyber-crime, action against corruption and black money and energy security. Today the whole world stands with India on the issue of terrorism. Designation of Masood Azhar, responsible for dastardly terrorist attacks on our soil, as a global terrorist by United Nations, is a major testimony to this fact.

My Government’s “Neighborhood First” policy is an evidence of our approach of according priority to South Asia and countries in the adjoining region. India will play a crucial role in the progress of this region. Accordingly, trade, connectivity and people-to-people contact are being encouraged in this region. The presence of Heads of States and Heads of Governments of ‘BIMSTEC’ countries, Kyrgyzstan – the current chair of ‘Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’ and Mauritius during the swearing-in of the new Government is a reflection of this policy.

My Government is also conscious of protecting the interests of Indians living and working abroad. Today an Indian, if caught in any crisis abroad, is confident of receiving timely help and relief. Several services ranging from passports to visas have been made easy and accessible.

New India will be sensitive and also, economically prosperous. But for this to happen, nation’s security is of utmost importance. My Government accords top most priority to national security. Therefore, effective steps are being taken to tackle Terrorism and Naxalism.

India has amply demonstrated both her intent and capabilities, first through surgical strikes and then through air strikes after the Pulwama attack at terrorist hideouts across the border. In future too, all possible steps will be taken to ensure our security.

My Government has decided to implement the process of ‘National Register of Citizens’ on priority basis in areas affected by infiltration. Security along the border will be further strengthened to prevent infiltration.

While on the one hand, Government is working to identify the infiltrators, on the other, it is also fully committed to protecting the victims of persecution due to their faith. In this regard, efforts will be made to amend the Citizenship Act while protecting the linguistic, cultural and social identities.

My Government is making efforts with complete dedication to provide a safe and peaceful environment to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir. The recently concluded peaceful elections to local bodies and to Lok Sabha have bolstered our efforts. My Government is committed to take all necessary steps for the development of Jammu and Kashmir.

My Government is resolutely working to eradicate the menace of Naxalism from the country. Considerable success has been achieved in this direction during the last 5 years. The area affected by Naxalism is reducing continuously. In the coming years, development projects will be expedited in these areas, which will benefit our tribal brothers and sisters residing there.

My Government is rapidly taking forward the work of modernisation of the army and the armed forces. India is going to receive the delivery of first ‘Rafale’ fighter aircraft and ‘Apache’ helicopters in the near future.

Special emphasis is being accorded by the Government to manufacture of modern armaments under ‘Make in India’. The policy of indigenously manufacturing weapons such as modern rifles and cannons, tanks and combat aircrafts is being carried forward successfully. ‘Defence Corridors’ coming up in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu will further strengthen this mission. While fulfilling our security requirements, export of defence equipment is also being encouraged.