In his address to the joint sitting of Parliament, President Mukherjee said, “My Government is dedicated to the poor. Poverty has no religion, hunger has no creed, and despair has no geography. The greatest challenge before us is to end the curse of poverty in India. My government will not be satisfied with mere ‘poverty alleviation’ and commits itself to the goal of ‘poverty elimination’.”

“With a firm belief that the first claim on development belongs to the poor; the government will focus its attention on those who need the basic necessities of life most urgently,” he added.

“It will take necessary steps to provide security in its entirety to all citizens; through empathy, support and empowerment,” he said.

The President said controlling food inflation, improving the supply side of various agro and agro-based products, taking effective steps to prevent hoarding and black marketing, reforming the Public Distribution System and incorporating best practices from the states are some of the topmost priorities of the government.

“Containing food inflation will be the topmost priority for my government. There would be an emphasis on improving the supply side of various agro and agro-based products,” President Mukherjee said.

“My government will take effective steps to prevent hoarding and black marketing. It will reform the Public Distribution System, incorporating best practices from the States. My government is alert about the possibility of a subnormal monsoon this year and contingency plans are being prepared,” he added.

President Mukherjee also stressed on the government’s obligation to perk up the living conditions of people in rural India and empowering the Panchayati Raj institutions.

He spoke about the concept of Rurban, which is aimed at providing urban amenities to rural areas while preserving the ethos of the villages.

“Despite more than two-thirds of our people living in rural areas; we have not been able to provide adequate public amenities and livelihood opportunities to them. My government is committed to improving the quality of life in our villages, through empowered Panchayati Raj institutions,” Mukherjee said.

“A substantial part of investment will focus on creating community assets and improving basic infrastructure such as roads, shelter, power and drinking water. My government will strive to end the rural-urban divide guided by the idea of Rurban; providing urban amenities to rural areas while preserving the ethos of the villages,” he added.

India, which is predominantly an agrarian economy, needs urgent attention, according to President Mukherjee, who also said that the government is fully devoted on overturning the negative trend of Indian farmers living under constant stress and hopelessness.

“Agriculture is the source of livelihood for majority of our people.  In the recent past, our farmers have been under severe stress with hopelessness driving some of them to suicides. My government is committed to reversing this unfortunate trend,” President Mukherjee said.

“It will increase investment in agriculture, both public and private, especially in Agri-infrastructure. Steps will be taken to convert farming into a profitable venture through scientific practices and Agro-technology,” he added.

“My government will address issues pertaining to pricing and procurement of agricultural produce, crop insurance and post-harvest management. Productivity of Animal Husbandry will be increased. My government will incentivize the setting up of food processing industries,” he said.

President Mukherjee further said the existing cooperative sector laws will be reviewed to remove anomalies and lacunae.

“My government will adopt a National Land Use Policy which will facilitate scientific identification of non-cultivable land and its strategic development,” he added.

President Mukherjee also spoke about the government’s enthusiasm towards providing water for irrigation purposes. He said that the NDA regime would launch the ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana’, which comes with the slogan of ‘Har Khet Ko Paani’.

“Each drop of water is precious. My government is committed to giving high priority to water security. It will complete the long pending irrigation projects on priority and launch the ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana’ with the motto of ‘Har Khet Ko Paani’,” President Mukherjee said.

“There is a need for seriously considering all options including linking of rivers, where feasible; for ensuring optimal use of our water resources to prevent the recurrence of floods and drought. By harnessing rain water through ‘Jal Sanchay’ and ‘Jal Sinchan’, we will nurture water conservation and ground water recharge. Micro irrigation will be popularised to ensure ‘Per drop-More crop’,” he added.

(JPN)

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