Addressing the joint session of Parliament on behalf of the Narendra Modi government, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said it would give top priority to containing food inflation and reigniting the investment cycle.
In his 50-paragraph speech, Mukherjee dwelt upon all aspects of the polity and swore that the government is committed to all-round development of all Indians. He said minorities would be “equal partners in progress”, vowed to reserve 33% in Parliament and state assemblies for women and coined the slogan of “poverty elimination”, against poverty alleviation.
The Modi government, he said, would strive for “multi-skilling” of the youth, create a development paradigm that is youth-led and establish a predictable and transparent policy regime for the benefit of investors.
He also promised transparent policies on allocation of critical natural resources such as coal, other minerals and spectrum.
Reforms would be undertaken in the coal sector “to attract private investment in a transparent manner”, he said, signalling that the government would either attempt privatisation of commercial coal mining or evolve a more pragmatic public-private partnership model for a sector hamstrung by stagnant output.
A “fast-track investor-friendly PPP mechanism” has also been promised by Mukherjee for infrastructure development. The government would chalk out an ambitious infrastructure development programme for the next 10 years. He promised a fast, time-bound and well-monitored programme for execution of the National Highways programme, low-cost airports to promote air connectivity to smaller towns, modernisation of existing sea ports and development of new world-class ports, allowing foreign direct investment in sectors that will create jobs and assets, a non-adversarial tax regime and efforts to introduce the goods and services tax (GST).
Stressing that India should be a globally competitive manufacturing hub powered by skill, scale and speed, the president said the government will set up world-class investment and industrial regions, particularly along the dedicated freight corridors and industrial corridors. “My government will encourage the domestic industry to innovate and collaborate internationally. It will strive to move towards a single-window system of clearances both at the Centre and at states through a hub-spoke model,” he said.
The government, he said, would build 100 new cities “focused on specialised domains and equipped with world-class amenities”, adding that it would strive to end the rural-urban divide guided by the idea of 'rurban' or providing urban amenities to rural areas while preserving the ethos of the villages.
The president said the railways would be revamped and