2015 budget session
President Pranab Mukherjee, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive for a joint session of both the houses of the Parliament in New Delhi, on Feb 23, 2015. Also seen Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs M Venkaiah Naidu and others.IANS

The first day of the Union Budget Session of India began with President Pranab Mukherjee's address at the Joint Sitting of Lower and Upper House of the Parliament on Monday, where he highlighted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government's agenda for the fiscal year 2015-16.

Mukherjee began his speech by underlining the achievements of the Modi-led government and its tenet, "Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas" – All Together, Development of All. Stressing on the government's efforts towards the betterment of India and its people, Mukherjee said: "A strong beginning has been made. A promising future awaits us."

By "strong beginning", he meant government's steps towards sanitation, elimination of poverty, skill development, setting up smart cities, contanining inflation, make in India mission and several other agenda of the Modi-led BJP government.

Here are the highlights of President Mukherjee's address to the joint Parliamentary session on the first day of the BJP-led government's full Budget session:

  • Talking about poverty, Mukherjee said, "My Government is pledged to work for the welfare of the poor, the marginalized and the vulnerable sections of the society."
  • The President highlighted the government's prime interest in the well-being of farmers, who he said are "the sentinel of our food security".
  1. To rescue the farmers affected by land acquisition for construction of rural housing, schools and hospitals particularly in remote area, the government has suitably refined "the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act".
  2. "The year 2015 has been designated as International Year of Soils...a Soil Health Card Scheme has been launched...To address the irrigation requirements of every village in an effective and sustainable manner, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana...Rashtriya Gokul Mission has been launched with the objective of conserving and developing indigenous cattle breeds" and organic farming and green house technology have also been kept on focus.
  • In line with "Swachh Bharat Abhiyan", "Swachh Vidyalaya" programme has also been launched to construct toilets in every school before 15 August, 2015.
  • "Housing is a fundamental requirement for dignified living. My Government is steadfast in fulfilling the aspirations of all households, particularly the poorest of the poor, to have a dwelling unit under the Mission "Housing for All" by 2022."
  • Government has emphasised on clean energy. Renewable energy for generation of electricity will be enhanced from 6% to 15% of the energy mix in the next 7 years. A scheme has been approved to set up 25 mega Solar Parks.
  • "SMART Police (Smart but Sensitive, Modern and Mobile, Alert and Accountable, Reliable and Responsive, Tech-savvy and well Trained) to provide efficient, courteous and effective citizen services and meet the operational needs of the police personnel including women police personnel."
  • "One Stop Crisis Centres, one in every State, are being set up for provision of integrated services including medical aid, police assistance, temporary shelter, and legal and psycho-social counselling. Another initiative has been the launch of Himmat, a mobile based application, to ensure women's safety in Delhi."
  • To address declining Child Sex Ration and ensure survival, protection and education of girl child government has launched "Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao" programme and a small saving scheme, "Sukanya Samriddhi Account", has been notified.
  • "A new "National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship" is on the anvil to align skilling initiatives with global standards. Focus will be on the youth from deprived households in rural areas. Public-Private Partnership is being fostered to create skill development models and channelize CSR funds into skilling activities."
  • "Our GDP is growing at 7.4%, which makes India the fastest growing large economy in the world. Inflation and Food inflation, in particular, are at a record low due to a number of decisive measures taken by the Government."

(Credit: PIB)