President’s Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday reflected upon the government’s concern about non-functioning of Parliament that has stalled several crucial bills and asked MPs to discharge their responsibilities in a “spirit of cooperation and mutual accommodation”.
“Parliament reflects the supreme will of people. Democratic temper calls for debate and discussion and not disruption or obstruction. The government will constantly strive for smooth and constructive conduct of Parliamentary business,” he said.
The President, in his customary address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament outlining the government’s agenda in the coming financial year, also struck a balance between its outreach for socially and economically deprived and its efforts to push economic activities.
Mukherjee showcased the government’s promise of housing to all, doubling food security cover, launch of social security pension schemes and the sanitation drive besides identifying the well-being of farmers as vital to national prosperity.
That did not overshadow the government’s measures to push growth through revival of stalled road projects, highest ever increase in rail capital’s expenditure, auction of mines, reforms in coal sector, highest ever power generation and more, he said.
Mukherjee’s speech comes at a time when the government is attempting to shed a pro-rich tag and counter criticism about a slowing economy. He said the government was focused on Sabka Vikas, beyond just the economic advancements that dominate headlines.
“We must ensure that the poor and deprived are truly empowered to take advantage of opportunities to improve their lives. Sabka Vikas means that backward sections of society are equally valued and are genuine stakeholders in the country’s progress,” he said.
Mukherjee’s remarks also come at a time Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to reach out to the farmers by addressing four rallies in parts of the country this month to showcase his government’s pro-farmer initiatives, including the crop insurance policy announced recently.
“My government, in particular, is focussed on ‘Garibon Ki Unnati’, ‘Kisano Ki Samridhi’ and ‘Yuvaon Ka Rozgar’... Rural development is one of our top priorities,” the President said.
Maintaining that ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ slogan captured the development philosophy of the Modi government, Mukherjee also highlighted government’s initiatives for people with disabilities and focus on holistic healthcare.
Mukherjee said the government firmly believed that economic development and environment protection can coexist and underscored that it was unsparing in punishing those found guilty of corruption. The previous UPA government, which Modi defeated in 2014, was criticised for unprecedented corruption and stalling growth in the name of environment protection.
Highlighting the increase in renewable energy capacity and solar power becoming affordable to all households, Mukherjee also referred to government’s plan to have a new civil aviation policy with thrust on connecting small cities.
Twenty nine electronic manufacturing centre are under development and the country recorded highest ever software export during 2015, Mukherjee said. He referred to India becoming world’s fastest growing economy, with increasing GDP, dip in inflation and contained fiscal and current account deficit.