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Strong, secure & inclusive India: President outlines Modi govt's priorities

This was the president's first address of the joint session after the Modi govt emerged victorious in elections 2019

BS Web Team & Agencies 

President Ram Nath Kovind
President Ram Nath Kovind, accompanied by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and other dignitaries, proceeds to the Central Hall of Parliament to address its joint session | Photo: PTI

India will implement more reforms to boost economic growth, including higher spending in farm sector and easing collateral-free loans to small businesses, President Ramnath Kovind told lawmakers on Thursday.

"Inflation is low, fiscal deficit is under control and foreign exchange reserves are rising ... Now India is moving towards becoming the world's fifth largest economy," Kovind said while addressing the joint session of parliament, ahead of the annual budget.

Newly appointed Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the annual budget on July 5.

In the past five years, the citizens of the country have understood that the government is willing to empower and uplift citizens, the President said. “To empower every person is our goal. This journey is inspired by ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas,” at the Parliament. ‘Prime Minister Farmer Kisan Samman Nidhi’ will be extended to every farmer in the country,” Kovind asserted. The President said, in this election more than 610 million people cast their vote and created a new record. The people of India gave a clear mandate, he added. "I congratulate the Election Commission for conducting the biggest election in the world," said the President.

There are several MPs who have been elected for the first time to the Lok Sabha. Largest number of women MPs have been elected this time, this paints a picture of the new India, said the President. The government has been committed to the goal of improving lives of all the countrymen from the first day after coming to power. Easing their sufferings, removing misgovernance and providing necessary facilities to the last man of society has been its priority, the President said in his speech. on Thursday urged the government to ensure stringent punishment for crimes against women and said the new Modi government's main objective was to build a secure nation.

Kovind said the penal provisions for crimes committed against women should be strictly enforced.

He added that to ensure equal rights for every woman, social evils like 'triple talaq' must end.

"Empowerment of women is one of the highest priorities of my government. The empowerment of women and their effective participation in society and economy is the test of a developed society," Kovind said.

The President said the new government would serve everyone and was committed to fight corruption.

He said government is moving ahead to create a strong, secure and inclusive India. The president said the government was working towards a Rs 25 trillion farm productivity spend and Rs 900 billion annual spend on farmers’ income support. The government will implement a register of citizens on a priority basis in the states facing infiltration of foreign citizens illegally, the president added. “Foreigners entering India illegally are a great threat to internal security,” Kovind said. Authorities in Assam are preparing a register to verify people who entered the state illegally.

First Published: Thu, June 20 2019. 11:46 IST