NEW DELHI: India’s president Pratibha Devi Singh Patil addressed a joint sitting of parliament here Thursday saying that the government would accord high priority to internal security, communal harmony, and economic growth, inclusive integration of people and regions and employment generation.
The president outlined government’s 100 days agendas as well as programmes that the government would focus with priority in the next five years. The hundred days agenda deals mainly with efforts to ensure early passage of women reservation bill in the parliament and other programmes that would help ensure the uplift of women across the country.
The president set 10 areas of priority viz: internal security and preservation of communal harmony; stepping up of economic growth in agriculture, manufacturing and services; consolidation of the existing flagship programmes for employment, education, health, rural infrastructure, urban renewal and introduction of new flagship programmes for food security and skill development.
Concerted action for the welfare of women, youth, children, other backward classes, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, minorities, the differently-abled and the elderly along with strengthened social protection; governance reform; creation and modernisation of infrastructure and capacity addition in key sectors; prudent fiscal management; energy security and environment protection; constructive and creative engagement with the world and promotion of a culture of enterprise and innovation, are other areas of priority, added the President.
Mrs Patil also said her government would adopt a policy of zero-tolerance towards terrorism.
She said the government would consolidate federal and state level intelligence gathering mechanism and central and State police forces and intelligence agencies would also be expanded and fully equipped with the best technology.
“A national counter-terrorism centre will be established to take pro-active anti-terrorism measures. Special Forces and Quick Response Teams will be raised and deployed in vulnerable areas,” the President said.
Unveiling one of the most ambitious programmes of the government, the president said the government would endeavour to make the country slum free in the next five years through Rajiv Awas Yojna on the lines of Indira Awas Yojna which is focused on rural poor.
“My Government will actively pursue police reform and in order to ensure the active participation of the citizenry in internal security, community policing will be promoted. At the same time government will continue to constructively engage with all groups that abjure violence in the Northeast, Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the country,” the President added.
“In 2004 my Government had set before the country a vision of an inclusive society and an inclusive economy. It worked diligently towards translating this vision into policies and programmes. My Government sees the overwhelming mandate it has received as a vindication of the policy architecture of inclusion that it put in place. It is a mandate for inclusive growth, equitable development and a secular and plural India. My Government is determined to work harder and better to realise these goals,” Mrs. Patil said.
Mrs Patil said the flagship programmes had moved the country towards inclusive development and therefore the government would endeavour to consolidate these programmes in the next five years.
The president also spoke the one of the most successful programmes of the present government- the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
“The opportunity for improving land productivity through the NREGA will be maximised through better convergence of NREGA with other programmes. To ensure transparency and public accountability, independent monitoring and grievance redressal mechanisms will be set up at the district level,” the President added.
President Patil also said that the new government would expand the national health insurance scheme to cover all the population that are bellow poverty line.
Mrs Patil said the new government would enact a law to ensure food security for all and people bellow poverty line would be entitled to buy 25 kilos of rice or wheat per month at the price of three rupees per kg.
She also unveiled some of the most ambitious plans of the government. The housing facilities for the rural and urban poor mainly through Indira Awas Yojna and Rajiv Awas Yojna.
“The Indira Awas Yojana, which exceeded the original target of sixty lakh houses for the period 2004-2009, will now take up double the target of rural housing to one crore twenty lakh houses to be completed in the next five years,” the president said.