By Our Political Affairs Bureau
NEW DELHI: President Ramnath Kovind was on Friday addressed the joint sitting of 2 Houses of Parliament. “I am pleased to address the joint sitting of Parliament at the start of the third decade of 21st century. I once again extend my best wishes for the New Year and congratulate all Members of Parliament for being a witness to this historic occasion,” he said.
This decade is extremely important for India. In this decade, we will complete 75 years of our independence. In this decade, we all have to work together with new energy to give impetus to the making of a new India. With the efforts of my Government, a strong foundation has been laid in the last five years, to make this decade India’s decade and this century India’s century.
Whether it is Pujya Bapu’s dream of Gram Swaraj, Babasaheb Ambedkar’s principle of social justice, Nehru ji’s dream of creating a modern India, Sardar Patel’s resolve for Ek Bharat- Shreshtha Bharat, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s goal of Antyodaya, Lohia ji’s vision of social equality, we the people of India will together make these dreams a reality.
The Constitution of India is the guiding light for all of us in fulfilling these dreams. Just a few weeks ago, on 26th November, 70 years of the Constitution have been completed. On that day, 12 crore citizens of the country, publicly read out the Preamble of the Constitution and renewed their commitment to the Constitution.
In addition, to protecting the rights of every citizen of our country, our Constitution makes the citizens of the country mindful of their duties. Further, our Constitution also places an expectation that the decisions taken through democratic processes will be accepted by the countrymen. At the same time, our Constitution expects the Parliament and every member present in this House to fulfil the hopes and aspirations of the countrymen and make the necessary laws, keeping the national interest paramount. I am happy that in the last 7 months, Parliament has set new standards in conducting its business. The performance during the first session of this Lok Sabha has set a new record in the last seven decades.
Due to my Government’s strong commitment, the law against Triple Talaq ensuring justice to Muslim women and safeguarding their rights; the Consumer Protection Act providing new rights to the citizens; the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Act for protecting the savings of the poor; the Chit Funds Amendment Act protecting the poor from fraudulent chit fund schemes; the law enhancing punishment for sexual offences against children; Motor Vehicles Amendment Act aimed at reducing road accidents; and the law protecting the rights of the transgender persons – several such historic legislations have been enacted.
The faith reposed by the people of our country in our democratic institutions strengthens the foundation of our democracy. The maturity displayed by the countrymen after the Supreme Court’s verdict on Ram Janmabhoomi is also laudable. My Government is of the firm view that mutual discussions and debates strengthen democracy. At the same time, any kind of violence in the name of protests weakens the society and the nation.
Under the Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi, more than Rs 43 thousand crore has been deposited in the bank accounts of more than 8 crore farmer families. On 2nd January this month, my Government has created a record by transferring Rs 12 thousand crore to the bank accounts of 6 crore farmers simultaneously.My Government is working with dedication to provide the farmers, prices which are one and a half times the input cost. Steady increase in MSP for Kharif and Rabi crops is a step in this direction. Due to the efforts of the Government the procurement of pulses and oilseeds has increased by more than 20 times.
The objective of India’s space programme has always been service to humanity. Due to the tireless work of country’s space scientists, Chandrayaan-2 has stimulated a new interest in technology among the country’s youth. My Government has already approved Chandrayaan-3. ISRO is also working expeditiously on the manned spacecraft programme – Gaganyaan, as well as Aditya-1 Mission. In these evolving times, to meet the new and complex challenges related to the defence of the country, my Government is working to make the defence forces stronger, more effective and modern. The appointment of CDS, the Chief of Defence Staff and creation of the Department of Military Affairs are steps in this direction. This will also improve coordination among the three services, while speeding up their modernization and the process of making them self-reliant.
We are fully attentive to the requirements of our security forces, including adequate armaments, safety equipment and bullet proof jackets. Manufacture of state-of-the-art AK 203 rifles, in collaboration with Russia, will commence in the Ordnance Factory at Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. Recently, when the Naval Prototype of Tejas landed and took off from INS Vikramaditya, every Indian was filled with pride. The Government has also taken historic steps in enhancing space security. With the successful testing of A-Sat, India has become the fourth country in the world to attain strike capability in space.
My Government is working with full strength and determination to free the country from the scourge of terrorism. In view of the changing nature of terrorism, alertness on the part of the citizens is extremely helpful. The decrease in terrorist activities in Jammu Kashmir demonstrates that public cooperation can be effective in the fight against terrorism. My Government has given the security forces a free hand in taking the strongest measures against those indulging in terrorism. The security situation in the North East has also improved significantly due to the concerted efforts of the Government. The geographical spread of Naxalism is also steadily shrinking. My Government is of the view that foreign policy is a vital ingredient of the country’s economic and strategic security. We are stimulating economic growth and prosperity by increasing connectivity with our neighbouring countries. “Neighbourhood First” policy is our priority. Apart from our neighbours, we have also strengthened relations with other countries of the world. This is why a number of countries have bestowed their highest honour on India. Our cooperation with ASEAN and African countries is being taken to a new level.
After International Solar Alliance, India has been at the forefront of a global partnership, Coalition on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure-CDRI. This step aimed at mitigating natural disasters will further strengthen India’s stature as a sensitive world power. This decade, which has just begun, will determine India’s global standing in the times to come. The world will witness an inclusive, prosperous, capable and powerful New India in this decade. Hence it is the bounden duty of every Member of this House and every countryman to strive hard with all their capability to achieve their respective goals.We should all strive to make every citizen conscious of and dedicated to his duties in the national interest, and ensure that this sense of responsibility becomes the guiding principle of our civic life. Come, let us together make this decade of 2020 the decade of fulfilling our duties.
“We must always remember that we are first and foremost citizens of this country, and leaders or supporters of a particular ideology thereafter. The prestige of our country should be more important than our party loyalties.It is my belief that in the times to come, all of us together, drawing inspiration from the glorious past of our country, will make every possible effort to ensure a bright future for the country; and that we will also succeed in our endeavour. Let us all come together to fulfil the dream of a New India; let us together make a New India,” he added.