The President made it clear that pursuing social agenda will be the top priority of the government with an effort to meet aspirations of the youth of the country.
"Our young people have to be invested with skills if we are to reap the demographic dividend," she said. A change in the Apprenticeship Act to introduce a number of modular training courses is on the anvil, President Pratibha Patil said. The slew of measures that the UPA government had taken in two tenures for social inclusion found a detailed mention in her speech.
"My government is steadfast in the pursuit of inclusive growth and empowerment of the weaker sections of the society," she said. Over 10 lakh titles have been distributed under the Forest Rights Act, 45 lakh Scheduled Caste students and 38 from minority groups have benefitted from school scholarship scheme, she said.
While the President emphasized on the government's effort to improve agriculture growth through Rs 35,000 given under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, she announced the measures the government will take to improve rural infrastructure. Among them were constructing 120 lakh homes by 2014, improving rural electrification and safe drinking water scheme.
Women and children, who constitute over 70% of India's population, had a special place in her speech as she hoped that a bill for reserving 33% seats for women in Parliament was considered by the Lok Sabha at the earliest. A bill to protect women against sexual harassment has been introduced, she said. For the aged and the needy, the President said an old-age pension scheme for workers in the unorganised sector —Swavalamban — had been launched. "The pursuit of peace, shared prosperity and regional cooperation will continue to guide my government's efforts," Patil said on foreign policy issues.