The President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee Speaks to 16th Lok Sabha For First Time
The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, spoke to the 16th Lok Sabha for the first time on Monday at the Central Hall of Parliament in New Delhi. He outlined that the first priority of the members should be to serve the people with the mandate they received in the recent election. He congratulated everyone and that made a statement that made us feminists around the world very happy:
I congratulate the new Speaker of the Lok Sabha on her unanimous election to this august office. By successively electing women Speakers, the Lok Sabha has re-affirmed our age-old belief in the importance of women in our society.
He went on to quote all the BJP’s main slogans during this election in a description of why everyone was elected:
Development through Good Governance
Ek Bharat – Shreshtha Bharat (One India, Great India)
Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas (Everyone Together, Everyone Develops)
Clearly, development is the main goal of the BJP and a large reason for their huge mandate, so it makes complete sense that he started his historic address to the first majority party in 30 years with that tone. Here are what he said on the poor and youth.
He calls poverty the “greatest challenge” faced by India and that he and the rest of the government aim for “poverty elimination” rather than “poverty alleviation.” Mukherjee outlines a few major plans for making sure that the “first claim on development belongs to the poor.”
He wants to improve the supply side of food industries to decrease food inflation. He believes tackling hoarding and black marketing will be key. He also brings up the less the usual monsoon season, which has the potential to hurt agriculture, stating that his government his prepared to handle it.
He then brings up the hot issue of public amenities for rural areas.He wants to focus on investing in “roads, shelter, power, and drinking water.” The president then uses the term “Rurban” to describe the concept of bringing urban infrastructure to the rural areas without destroying the culture of the villages. Pranab Mukherjee than points out that agriculture is key for a lot of india and that investment in it are key for progress. He specifically talks about improving habits using agro-technology and a National Land Use Policy to find non-cultivable land and propose strategic development
He proposes projects to increase water resources for fields and to make them more efficient (“Per drop-More crop”).
He then moves on to discuss India’s youth. He believes that education will be key to gaining the maximum benefit from the world’s largest population of youth. He states that the government will transition “from Youth Development to Youth-led Development.”
For education, his plans include increasing MOOCS and virtual classrooms, and a new National Education Policy that aims to improve educational institutions.
We will set up IITs and IIMs in every state.
He also proposes various other projects such as an e-library system and a skill development mission.
He then talks about recreation for children and believes that the launch of a “National Sports and Talent Search System” will help keep India fit, which is increasing important as obesity rates go up. In tandem with sports, he mentions that the government will work on a New Healthy Policy which will push Yoga and AYUSH and also work to improve the health care industry as a whole.
He finally hit another hot issue when he brings up better sanitation and waste management system. This includes increasing access to toilets, which was the cause for one of the reason rape cases, and has brought much attention to the problem of proper waste disposal.
He then brings up increasing educational, health and livelihood opportunities for minority groups such as scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. He states that the government is commitment to increasing education among minority community to help alleviate the poverty that they suffer.
Mukherjee then talks about increasing the welfare for “specially-abled people” (I love that he used that term!). He plans on increasing institutional care and taking other steps to help identify special needs.
His next topic is women and here he makes some good points again! First he talks about the commitment to increase female representation in parliament, and then he addresses female foeticide, calling for a campaign of “Beti Bachao – Beti Padhao.” He then address sexual violence and calls for a “zero tolerance” policy and an improvement in the criminal justice system.
It will be important to see whether or not the government follows through on all the promises they have made. The poor and youth were only two parts of the entire address, and their agenda is massive.[Image Attribute: Indianhillybilly and Ambuj.Saxena at English Wikipedia]