President Ram Nath Kovind addressed the joint session of Parliament, marking the beginning of the Budget Session 2018.
In his maiden address to the joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament, the President said 2018 is important year for realising dream of new India.
Further highlighting the government achievement, the president said that "My government is working dedicatedly to strengthen weaker sections, social justice and economic democracy in the country and make life easier for the common citizen, following the inherent fundamentals in the Constitution."
Highlights of President Kovind's speech
- To end discrimination against daughters, my Government had started the ' Beti Bachao Beti Parao' scheme. This schemes scope has now been increased from 161 districts to 640 districts.
- To solve the difficulties faced by the farmers and elevate their living standards, my Government has a high priority.
- To work for the betterment of the farmers, my Government have increased urea production on one side, the contributing of urea is also paused after a 100% neem coating. Fertilizers in Gorakhpur, eyelash, Sindri, Talcher and Ramagundam are being worked out.
- Poor women have given 'Prime Minister Ujjwala Yojna' an opportunity to equate women with facilities and solve an unseen side of social justice. So far, more than 34 million gas connections have been provided under the scheme.
- My government has increased the minimum wage of workers by more than 40 percent. The number of registers has been reduced from 56 to 5 for adhering to labor laws. Now all the returns on the labor facility portal are filled online.
- It is our duty that when we celebrate Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary in 2019 we pay tribute to him by making our country completely clean.
- India's ambitious space program, national development and regional and international collaboration is achieving new achievements. For the first time in the world, ISRO successfully launched 104 satellites.
- I hope the Triple Talaq Bill will be passed soon so that the Muslim women can live a life of dignity and without fear
- It is a matter of pride for all that Kumbh Mela has been included in UNESCO's list of 'Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity'. Ahmedabad has been ranked as the first 'Heritage City' by UNESCO. UNESCO has ranked Chennai as the list of Creative Cities.
- My government is running the world's largest digital literacy program under 'Prime Minister Rural Digital Literacy Campaign'. Under the program, so far 10 million people have been digitally educated.
- 'Bhima App' is playing a big role in promoting digital transactions. More than 100 public utilities have been made available on mobile by the recently launched 'Umang App.
- The poor beneficiaries are directly reaching the facilities available to them, without intermediaries, through the Aadhaar. Digital payments are being made in more than 400 schemes of the present government. So far, the amount of more than Rs. 57,000 crore has been saved in the wrong hands.
- Due to commendable efforts in the electronics manufacturing sector, there are 113 mobile companies in the country, whose number was only 2 in 2014. This is also providing new opportunities for employment to our youth in small towns of the country.
- Investment is constantly being increased in the railway for capacity development and modernization. My government is committed to world class railway services. Work of Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed bullet train has also started.
- With help of Aadhaar, facilities are reaching poor beneficiaries directly without involvement of middlemen. Digital transactions are being done for over 400 policies of present govt. This has saved over Rs 57,000 Crore from going into wrong hands.
- The government implemented GST in 2017 and has managed to reduce the fiscal deficit and current account deficit.
- As a result of Government's policies and the hardwork of farmers, a record production of more than 275 million tonnes of food grain and about 300 million tonnes of horticultural produce has been achieved in the country.
- The highest priority of my Government is to remove various difficulties faced by farmers and to raise their standard of living. The schemes of my Government are not only removing their hardships but also reducing the expenditure incurred by them on farming.
- Government has approved a new major program 'Bharatmala' in the highway area. An amount of Rs 535,000 crores has been made for this. To increase the National Corridor Efficiency, National Highways of approximately 53,000 km have been identified.
- My government has also created a new policy for Metro projects. The emphasis on 'Last Mile Connectivity' has been emphasized in the new policy. In the country, Metro projects are going on in 11 cities now.
- After independence, only 76 airports in the country were connected to commercial flights, while work has been started to connect 56 airports and 31 helipads in just 15 months of the 'Flying' scheme. So far flights have been started from 16 such airports.
- Due to regular efforts of the Central Government and the State Governments, there has been significant improvement in the internal security of the country.
- For this, conscious people of these areas and our military, semi army officers and our police force deserve to be congratulated. We appreciate all our leaders and pay homage to the martyrs who are martyred.
- Terrorist violence in the interior areas of Jammu and Kashmir is directly linked to cross-border intrusion. Our military and paramilitary forces and the J & K Police are giving a fair answer to this violence, with better coordination.
- The policy related to strategic partnership in the defense manufacturing sector has also been finalized. This will lead to greater participation of private sector and job creation in the construction of key defense platforms and equipments.
- My government has paid outstanding amount of more than Rs. 10,000 crores to more than 2 million retired soldiers while fulfilling their promise of 'One Rank One Pension'.
- After joining the Missile Princeton Control Regime last year, India has been incorporated as a member of Wassenar arrangement and Australia's Group this year. This is an important achievement of my Government.
- In last three years, thanks to the effort of my Government, India now ranks 100(earlier its was 142) on World Bank's Ease of Doing business ranking. This has enhanced the credibility of the country in the global market.
- There should be a debate on carrying out simultaneous elections, all political parties need to arrive at a consensus on this.
Following the President's speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the Economic Survey 2018, three days before the Narendra Modi's government's last full-fledged budget ahead of general elections.
Earlier, PM Narendra Modi appealed to the opposition to pass the Triple Talaq Bill, which criminalises instant divorce.