In a customary address after the formation of the 17th Lok Sabha, President Ram Nath Kovind addressed the joint sitting of both houses of Parliament at the historic Central Hall.
He congratulated the newly elected MPs and said that the new government is committed to 'sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas'. Congratulating the Election Commission, officials and security personnel involved in holding the national elections, President Kovind said the government is moving ahead to create a strong, secure and inclusive India.
- Over 61 crore voters cast their votes and enhanced the credibility of India's democracy in the world. The people gave a very clear mandate in this election. More women voters have cast their votes and their participation has been almost equal to men. Crores of youth have voted for the first time and played an important role in shaping India's future.
- The people elected a government and gave a clear mandate to continue the developmental journey that started back in 2014. The new journey is committed to 'Sabka Saath- Sabka Vikas', to create a New India. The government is moving forward towards realising their aspirations of building a strong, safe, prosperous and all-inclusive India.
- Addressing the growing water crisis, President Kovind said that people should focus on 'Water Conservation and Management'. Creation of new Jal Shakti ministry is a decisive step in this regard which will have a far-reaching impact, President Kovind said.
- The whole world stands with India on the issue of terrorism. Designation of Masood Azhar, responsible for dastardly terrorist attacks on our soil, as a global terrorist by the United Nations, is a major testimony to this fact. Effective steps are being taken to tackle terrorism and Naxalism. The nation India has amply demonstrated both her intent and capabilities, first through surgical strikes and then through air strikes after the Pulwama attack at terrorist hideouts across the border.
- Illegal infiltrators pose a major threat to our internal security. This is leading to a social imbalance in many parts of the country, as well as putting huge pressure on limited livelihood opportunities. The new Government has decided to implement the process of National Register of Citizens' on priority basis in areas affected by infiltration. Security along the border will be further strengthened to prevent infiltration.
- India is now on the way to become the world's 5thlargest economy in terms of GDP. To maintain a high growth rate, the reform process will continue. It is our objective to make India a 5-trillion dollar economy by 2024.
- A separate 'Pension Scheme' has been approved for small shopkeepers and retail traders. About 3 crore small shopkeepers in the country will benefit from this scheme.
- As we are all indebted to the soldiers who dedicate themselves to protect the countrymen, we should secure the future of kids of those who guard the border. The amount of scholarship under the 'National Defence Fund' has been increased for the children of our brave soldiers. For the first time, sons and daughters of the State police personnel have also been included in this scholarship.
- Efforts are being made by the Central Government to provide adequate assistance to the States for agricultural development. Large scale investments have been made to strengthen rural India. In order to enhance agriculture productivity, an investment of Rs 25 lakh crore will be made in the coming years.
- The income of farmers will be doubled by 2022. The government has made the agriculture policy both production-centric as well as income-centric. Through 'Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi', Rs 12,000 crore has been disbursed to the farmers. Estimated expenditure of Rs 90,000 crore is likely to be incurred annually on this scheme since every farmer has now been brought in its ambit.
- Women Empowerment is one of the top priorities of my Government. Empowerment of women and their effective involvement in society and economy is the touchstone of a developed society. Penalties for crimes against women have been made harsher and the new penal provisions are being strictly enforced. The 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao'campaign has brought down female foeticide and improved the sex ratio in many districts of the country.
- Efforts are being made to provide better employment opportunities to women. In addition, in government procurement, priority will be given to those enterprises where women's participation in the workforce is more than the prescribed limit.
- Attempts have been made for developing the skills of the youth, providing them financial support for start-ups and self-employment, and making an available adequate number of seats for higher education. The amount of scholarship has also been increased by 25 per cent. The government has made provision of 10% reservation for youth from economically weaker section of the general category.
- The government's Our goal is to establish 50,000 start-ups in the country by 2024.
- To identify the players at the state and district level, it has been decided to widen the 'Khelo-India Programme'. Under this, 2,500 talented players have been selected, and are being trained. Now, this facility will be provided to 2,500 new players every year. The sports infrastructure in the country will be modernised as well as expanded.
- Under the 'Bharatmala Project', construction or upgradation of about 35,000 kilometres of National Highways is to be undertaken by 2022. In addition, under the 'Sagarmala Project', a network of good quality roads is being constructed in coastal areas and areas adjoining ports