A record 78 women have been elected as members of the Lok Sabha -- the highest ever -- and almost half of the elected members are first timers, Kovind said in his customary address after the formation of the 17th Lok Sabha.
President Ram Nath Kovind Thursday said a “very clear mandate” for the Narendra Modi government in the Lok Sabha polls was for continuing uninterrupted the development journey that it started in 2014, as he listed the government’s achievements and goals. In an hour-long address to the joint sitting of Parliament, Kovind said national security was paramount for the government as he touched on surgical strikes and air strikes on Pakistan-based terror camps. He also underlined the government’s resolve to remove “social evils” of triple talaq and ‘nikah halala’ and promised to intensify its crackdown on corruption.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and MPs of both Houses in attendance, the President said the Lok Sabha polls had enhanced the credibility of Indian democracy as a record number of people-61 crore- voted, including the highest share of women. Kovind, in his speech, which is prepared by the government of the day, said empowering every person in the country is the main goal of the ruling dispensation which, he added, wants to build a ‘New India’ by 2022 in which there is no discrimination on the grounds of caste or religion.
“The people of the country have given a very clear mandate in this election. After assessing the performance of the government during its first tenure, people have given even stronger support for the second term. By doing so, they have given a mandate for continuing uninterrupted and at an accelerated pace the journey of development which started in 2014,” he said. He also pushed for simultaneous elections in the country, saying it is the “need of the hour.”
He said due to frequent elections being held in some part of the country or the other, the pace and continuity of development programmes have been impacted. “Therefore, I urge all Members of Parliament to seriously ponder over this development oriented proposal of One Nation – Simultaneous Elections,” he said. His suggestion came a day after Modi held deliberations with presidents of 21 political parties over the issue.
He noted that half of the MPs in this Lok Sabha have been elected for the first time and the presence of 78 women MPs, the highest ever, presents the picture of a new India. To fulfil its resolution of building a ‘New India’, the government in a short period of 21 days has taken many decisions aimed at welfare of farmers, soldiers, students, entrepreneurs, women and other sections of society and have also started implementing them, Kovind said, adding initiatives have been taken to enact several new laws.
He spoke about the decision to start pension schemes for farmers and small traders, and extending the scheme to give Rs 6000 input subsidy to all farmers. Noting that a strong national economy can be built only on the foundation of a strong rural economy, he said an investment of Rs 25 lakh crore will be made in the coming years in order to enhance agriculture productivity.
To double income of farmers by 2022, when India will complete its 75 years of Independence, several steps have been taken in the last five years, the President said. Talking about the federal structure of the country, Kovind said “strengthening the system and spirit of cooperative federalism, my government is taking the states along to achieve national goals.” Asserting that the world supports Indias position on terrorism, he said UN’s declaration of JeM chief Masood Azhar as “global terrorist” is a proof of this.