The Budget Session of Parliament began with the address by President Ram Nath Kovind to both Houses in the Central Hall. President Kovind on Monday began his Budget speech by paying tributes to freedom fighters who ‘prioritised their duties and helped India get its rights’. “I bow down to the lakhs of freedom fighters who prioritised their duties and helped India get its rights. I also respectfully remember the personalities who contributed to the development journey of India in the 75 years of independence”
“Dr BR Ambedkar had said that his ideal society would be the one based on independence, equality & harmony. Democracy is not just a form of the govt, democracy’s base is sense of respect for people. My Government considers the ideals of Babasaheb its guiding principle,” he said.
President Kovind said that his government believes in remembering and learning from the past as it is important for the safe future of the country. He said, “Starting this year, the Government has begun the Republic Day celebrations from 23rd Jan – Netaji’s birth anniversary. My Government believes that remembering the past and learning from it is very important for the safe future of the country.”
President Kovind highlighted the achievements of the Modi government on the following topics:
Speaking on country’s handling of the global pandemic and developments in health care sector, he said, “India’s capability in fight against COVID19 was evident in vaccination program. In less than a year, we made a record of administering over 150 crore doses of vaccine. Today, we’re one of the leading nations of the world in terms of administering the maximum number of doses.
“India worked as a team during Covid. India’s vaccination programme has created world records. Over 90% senior citizens have received at least one dose of vaccine,” President Kovind said.
Speaking on Ayushman Bharat card President Kovind said, “Ayushman Bharat card benefitted the poor. Availability of medicines at low prices at Jan Aushadi Kendra was also a great move”.
“Many lives lost due to COVID. Even in such circumstances our Centre, States, doctors, nurses, scientists, our healthcare workers worked as a team, I am thankful to our health care and frontline workers,” he added
Kovind also hailed ‘PM Gareeb Kalyan Yojana’ and said “To ensure that no one returns home hungry, my govt distributes free ration to the poor every month as part of PM Gareeb Kalyan Yojana. Today India is running world’s largest food distribution program. It (PM Gareeb Kalyan Yojana) extended till March 2022.”
On the issue of Women empowerment, he stressed, “Women empowerment is one of the top priorities of my Government We’re witnesses to the success of Ujjwala Yojana. Through Mudra Yojana, the entrepreneurship & skills of women have received a boost. With ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ many positive results have come to the fore.
Providing equal status to the sons and daughters, my Govt has presented the Bill to increase the minimum age of 18 years for women to get married and bring it to 21 years, just like that for men.” Governement also stopped Triple Talaq, he added.
‘National Education Policy has changed the face of education in India’:
4.5 crore students have been given scholarships last year. Women are getting entry in National Defence Academy. National Education Policy has changed the face of education in India. 19 Engineering colleges are ensuring education in regional languages now.
PM Kisan Samman Nidhi:
On farmers President Kovind said, “Our small-scale farmers have a significant role in the country’s development; my govt has always prioritised 80% small-scale farmers. As part of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, over 11 crore families of farmers benefitted.”
“The government ensured more avenues for farmers to sell produce. We have set up storage facilities to help farmers. The government has always focused on small farmers. Government has disbursed funds to 1,80,000 farmer families. We have also ensured infrastructure near farm areas,” President Kovind said.
Focus on Make-In-India projects for defence sector:
India is focused on self-reliance in defence. The government has approved several Make-in-India projects. Now, our soldiers will get ‘Made-in-India’ weapons. Indigenous Tejas fighters have been approved, said President Kovind.
Huge spurt in highway construction across India:
“India has heralded a new age in the transport sector. A huge spurt has been seen in highway construction across India. Work on Delhi-Mumbai Expressway is also underway. India is working towards an integrated transport scenario. In 2014, highway length amounted to 90,000 km. Today, it is 1,40,000 km,” said President Kovind.
Funding to MSME sectors:
Over 13 lakh MSME firms have benefitted from government schemes. MSME sector has been India’s backbone, said President Kovind.
On February 1, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union budget for the year 2022-23.
The Budget Session of Parliament is scheduled to conclude on April 8 where the first part of the session will extend up to February 11, the Lok Sabha Secretariat said.