Budget Session: President’s Address
31 January, 2019- President Ram Nath Kovind addressed legislators from the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha in the Central Hall of Parliament on Thursday on the first day of the Budget Session. He claimed the country was passing through a difficult period before the 2014 General Elections, but the present government came out with an initiative to create a “new India”. The president backed the Centre’s Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which has met with stiff opposition from political parties and people in the north-eastern states. The president also praised the introduction of reservations for the poor among upper castes. The government has taken many measures for women’s welfare, like introducing a bill to make triple talaq illegal and extending the period of maternity leave, he added. He also praised the government’s 2016 decision to demonetise old currency notes and said the Centre has taken several steps to bring back black money stashed abroad. The President also listed out and praised several other government initiatives.
Highlights of President’s address
- We know that expenses on health make the poor even poorer. This government worked towards this and launched the Ayushman Bharat Yojana. More than 10 lakh poor people have availed health benefits under this scheme.
- More than 21 crore people have availed the benefits of the Pradhanmantri Suraksha Bima Yojana. And more than 50 crore people have benefitted through the Pradhanmantri Jan Aarogya Abhiyan.
- We have provided electricity in more than 2,47,00,000 houses under the Pradhanmantri Saubhagya Yojana.
- Under the Mudra Yojana, more than 15 crore people have benefitted and around 4 crore people have launched their own businesses.
- This government introduced the 10 per cent EWS quota bill and the triple talaq bill. We are committed towards social and gender justice in the society.
- This government is committed towards increasing the income of the farmers. We understand what the farmers actually need. Better farm equipment, high yield variety seeds and better fertilisers have been the top priority of this government.
- More than 1,16,000 households have been connected through optic fibre, as opposed to the year 2014 when only a mere 59 households had digital connectivity.
- As many as 34 crore Jan Dhan accounts have been opened by this government. More than Rs 88,000 crore has been deposited in these accounts. The benefits of the schemes are directly transferred to the account of beneficiaries. 55 per cent of the total bank accounts opened between 2014-2017 were opened in India itself.
- The Citizenship Amendment Bill will make it easier to provide Indian citizenship to those who had to take refuge in India after facing oppression somewhere else. They were not at fault; they were victims of situations.
- This government has taken many steps to curb corruption and do away with black money. A new agreement was signed with countries that have traditionally served as tax havens. A new stringent law — the Benami Law — was brought into force by the government. Demonetisation was also aimed at removing black money from transactions.
- This government used technology to check and plug the loopholes in the system. We identified as many as 8 crore fake beneficiaries in the system. We also brought the whole nation under the GST to implement ‘one nation one tax system’.
- This government is known to have completed projects on time -be it the Bogibeel bridge, or the western peripheral expressway.
- People don’t have to stand in long queues any longer. There are more than 400 passport centres in the whole nation.
- This government is committed towards the cleaning programme of river Ganga. We have sanctioned funds to fasten the process.
- This government set a new precedent by carrying out the surgical strikes against Pakistan.
- This government is committed towards the development of Jammu and Kashmir and solving the issue of militancy in the state.
- This government strengthened the military equipment of the nation by including Rafale aircraft in its weaponry.
- The number of youth, which have come forward and participated in the mainstream politics and society, from the Maoist-affected areas has been a record.
- I also want to mention and congratulate the security personnel who devote and dedicate their whole life for the nation.
- The maternity leave for women was increased from 12 to 26 weeks. The punishment for raping a minor girl was increased from life imprisonment to death sentence.
What is the significance of president’s speech before the budget?
- President’s address is the speech delivered by the President of India to both Houses of Parliament assembled together at the commencement of the first session after each general election to Lok Sabha and at the commencement of the first session of each year (this is usually the budget session).
- This speech is a statement of the government policy and approved by the cabinet.
- The president highlights legislative and policy activities of the government, achievements of the previous year and broad agenda of the upcoming year.
The New India requires so much ranging from women empowerment, better education and healthcare facilities to jobs. The schemes should be able to ensure last mile connectivity.