[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]F[/dropcap]or the first time in independent India, a reigning President signed off in style, paying rich tributes to the government of the day. In what could be his last address to the members of both houses of parliament, President Pranab Mukherjee, who is remitting office by July 2017, complimented the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre for hundreds of programmes initiated by it for the benefit of the poor and weaker sections of the society.
It turned out to be a performance assessment of the Modi government which has scored A Plus in the last three years of its hard work.
This year’s parliament sessions began on Tuesday with the President’s customary address to the members of both the Houses. In the hour long speech, President Pranab Mukherjee, who himself was Union Cabinet Minister for almost 25 years under four Prime Ministers starting from Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P V Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh and has presented seven union budgets as the country’s finance minister, was liberal in his compliments for the government.
In a one hour speech, the President listed before the House a progress report of the last three year’s initiatives of the NDA government at the centre. He began the speech with Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, the battle cry adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the theme of his work and concluded the speech with the same slogan but with the reiteration that it would bring to all the equality and dignity enshrined in the Constitution.
It turned out to be a performance assessment of the Modi government which has scored A Plus in the last three years of its hard work. It has delivered what it had promised. According to the President, the Jan Dhan Yojana and the Swachh Bharat Mission, two of the flagship initiatives of the Modi government has turned out to be a Jan Aandolan programmes because of the Jan Shakthi it could mobilize.
While patting the people for their resilience and forbearance in the fight against black money and corruption, The President announced that 12 million people in the country gave up their LPG subsidy following the Prime Minister’s Give It Up Campaign. People who could afford LPG cylinders on their own surrendered the subsidy aspect which in turn helped the government to offer LPG connection to the under privileged sections in society. The Swachh Bharat Mission has resulted in 1,40,000 villages, over 450 cities, 77 districts and three states have declared themselves Open Defecation Free.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]M[/dropcap]ore than 260 million Jan Dhan Yojana accounts have been opened, 200 RuPay debit cards have been distributed and 130 million people have been brought under various social security system. ‘It is Jan Dhan to Jan Suraksha scheme,’ said the President.
It may be remembered that President Mukherjee in his Republic Day Eve Message to the country had aid that demonetization, though a temporary setback, would bring in good results.
Under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, 56 million loans have been issued to small and medium entrepreneurs. The President also listed a number of programmes launched by the present government targeting the dalits, weaker sections and financially struggling sections of the society. In what is seen as the government’s seriousness in bringing world class infrastructure to India, the President said his government was working on Generation Next infrastructure in the country. He also listed the details of the action plan worked out by the government for the overall economic and social development of the people.
It may be remembered that President Mukherjee in his Republic Day Eve Message to the country had said that demonetization, though a temporary setback, would bring in good results. “Demonetization, while immobilizing black money and fighting corruption, may have led to temporary slowdown of economic activity. As more and more transactions become cashless, it will improve the transparency of the economy,” Mukherjee had said in his Republic Day message to the nation.
The President’s hour long speech was listened in rapt attention by the Prime Minister and his ministerial colleagues while former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sat glum faced with his madam Signora Sonia and her son Rahul Gandhi. The notable sight was that of a flippant Sitaram Yechury of the CPI-M and Anand Sharma of the Congress sitting together and sharing notes while the President was speaking. The body language between Yechury and Sharma gave enough indications of the bonhomie between the two parties which could lead them to forge an alliance in time for the 2019 Lok sabha elections.