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India president outlines Modi-led government’s agenda


President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, proceed to the joint session of Parliament in New Delhi, on Monday Photo - PTI

Our Correspondent

New Delhi: Every family in India will have a proper house with water connection, toilet facilities and round-the-clock power supply by 2022, President Pranab Mukherjee assured the nation on Monday, as he outlined the priorities of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government, keen to revive "Brand India" and put the economy back on track.

 "When the nation completes 75 years of Independence (2022), every family will have a pucca house with water connection, toilet facilities, 24x7 electricity supply," President Mukherjee said, while addressing a joint session of Parliament.

He said that the Modi government would revive "Brand India" and work to fulfil the expectations of the citizens of the country. The government "will revive 'Brand India,' riding on its strengths of five Ts -- tradition, talent, tourism, trade and technology -- and will pursue foreign policy on the basis of 'enlightened nationalism' and mutually beneficial relationships," he said.

Stating that the people of India gave a clear mandate, wanting to see a vibrant, dynamic and prosperous India, President Mukherjee said: "They want to see a resurgent India regaining the admiration and respect of the international community. Brimming with hope and expectation, they want quick results.

"With three D's of democracy, demography and demand on our side, we must rise to the occasion to fulfil these great expectations. In 60 months from now, we should be able to say with confidence and pride that we have done it."

Talking about the government's aim to serve the poor, the Indian President said: "The government is dedicated to the poor, poverty has no religion, hunger has no creed and will not be satisfied with mere poverty alleviation but commits itself to the goal of poverty elimination and will focus on those who need the basic necessities of life most urgently."

Admitting that the country is passing through a difficult phase on the economic front, the President said that for the Modi government, "putting the economy back on track is (of) paramount" importance.

"We will work together to usher our economy into 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. Containing food inflation would be the top most priority of the government. My government will take effective steps to prevent hoarding and black marketing," he said. Mukherjee added: "The government will embark on rationalisation and simplification of the tax regime to make it non-adversarial and conductive to investment, enterprise and growth. My government will also follow a policy of encouraging investments, including through FDI, which will be allowed in sectors that help create jobs and assets."

On violence against women, the Modi government would follow a zero-tolerance policy, the president said, adding that "a 'beti bachao, beti badhao' (save girl child, nurture girl child" will soon be launched."

Mukherjee also said the government would soon chalk out an ambitious infrastructure development programme, with a revamp of the railways being on top of the agenda. "Expansion of railways in hilly states and the northeast will be prime focus, (and) will encourage R&D. Diamond quadrilateral network of high speed trains (is) to be developed."

He also spelt out a time-bound plan for national highways network. "The government will launch Sagar Mala Project to connect sea ports with the hinterland through road and rail. Existing ports (are) to be modernised, new ports (are) to be developed. Also, low cost airports will be developed to promote air connectivity to smaller towns. A port-led development model will be evolved."

Experts say the speech was fully "Modi-fied" and the government's social commitment overweighs its economic reforms agenda.

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