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Congress hits out at Modi Govt after President's address


New Delhi, Jan 31: The Budget session of the Parliament began on Thursday after President Ram Nath Kovind's address to a joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

After the Parliament was adjourned for the day after President's address, the Congress party hit out at Narendra Modi government.

President Ram Nath Kovind

In his address, the President outlined the major policy achievements of the government.

Talking about the economy, President Kovind said that during the last four and a half years, the economy of the country has been growing at a rate of 7.3% on an average.

'India's contribution to the world GDP was 2.6% in 2014, it has increased to 3.3% in 2017 as per latest reports."

He added that 21 crore individuals belonging to low-income groups have been provided with insurance coverage under the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana.

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Mentioning the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme, the President said that the scheme was expanded in the last four and a half years which benefitted the beneficiaries.

"More than Rs 6.05 lakh crore have been directly transferred to the bank accounts of beneficiaries," said President Kovind.

He said that through demonetisation, the registration of 3.3 lakh dubious shell companies responsible for flow of black money has been annulled.

Talking about the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the President said that more than 9 crore toilets have been constructed in the country.

The coverage of rural sanitation, which was less than 40% in 2014, has increased to 98%, he added.

The President also said that the government's focus has been on the women empowerment.

He said under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, out of the 15 crore Mudra loans have been provided, 73% of these have been disbursed to women entrepreneurs.

The President also lauded the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana by saying that more than 82% villages have been connected by roads, as compared to 56% villages in 2014.

Now the target to provide road connectivity to every village by 2019 has been set, he added.

Amid speculation over an announcement of a farm relief package in the upcoming Budget, President Ram Nath Kovind said the government is attempting to find "permanent solutions" for problems faced by farmers, who are the foundation of the economy.

The President recounted Modi government's commitment to doubling farmers' income by 2022 and listed measures taken during the last four and half years to address farm sector issues.

Crop insurance is being provided to farmers at low premiums under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana to safeguard them from potential crises due to crop damage, the President said.

He also mentioned Ujjwala Yojana in his address and said even after decades of efforts, there were only 12 crore gas connections in the country in 2014.

"In a short period of last four and a half years, 13 crore families have been provided gas connections."

He also spoke about 'Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Abhiyan', UDAN scheme, and other initiatives of the Modi government.

Reacting on the resident's address, the Congress said it was very unfortunate that the government tried to make its false claims credible through the President.

Addressing a press conference here, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said President Ram Nath Kovind, who in his speech in Parliament lauded the elimination of black money, was wrong about his assessments. "Barely 0.01 percent of currency did not come back to the banking system, whereas the entire country suffered."

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He said that the time has come for the BJP to be accountable to the people of India.

Citing a report in Business Standard regarding the unemployment survey by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), Sharma said that employment in the country is at an all-time low, much unlike the BJP's claims.

The NSSO survey, conducted between July 2017-June 2018, published by the newspaper on Thursday showed that the unemployment rate stood at 6.1 percent, the highest since 1972-73.

He added that the government has failed to deliver on many of its promises, including creating 100 smart cities, enrolling 10 crore candidates in the Kaushal Vikas Yojana, and improving conditions for farmers in the country.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi also launched attack on Modi government.

Using the hashtag #HowsTheJobs on Twitter, he tweeted: "NoMo Jobs! The Fuhrer promised us 2 Cr jobs a year. 5 years later, his leaked job creation report card reveals a National Disaster. Unemployment is at its highest in 45 yrs. 6.5 Cr youth are jobless in 2017-18 alone. Time for NoMo2Go. #HowsTheJobs (sic)."

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The budget session began today and will continue till February 13 with interim budget to be presented on February 1.

It will be the last session of the 16th Lok Sabha as the elections are likely to be held in April-May.

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