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Updated: March 13, 2012 02:02 IST

President's address reveals precious little

Special Correspondent
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President Pratibha Patil with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on her way to the Budget Session in New Delhi. Photo: R.V. Moorthy
The Hindu
President Pratibha Patil with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on her way to the Budget Session in New Delhi. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

No mention of government's road map on reforms, Lokpal

President's address to the joint session of Parliament on the opening day of budget session reflects the initiatives of the government in various fields and outlines its vision for the fiscal year beginning in April.

Click here for a .pdf of the President's Address

The speech of President Pratibha Patil to members of both Houses on Monday reveals precious little on the thinking of the Manmohan Singh government on how it intends to move forward on the crucial economic reforms, the growing chasm between the Centre and the States on federalism and the way forward on the stalled Lokpal Bill.

The last address of the President in her current tenure is at best an elaborate summary of the functioning of various government ministries and departments.

Conceding that the economic growth had slowed down from 8.4 per cent in 2010-11 to 7 per cent this year, the President maintained that it would be the endeavour of the government to put the economy back on high growth trajectory of eight to nine per cent. It does not, however, spell out how the government would reach the goal.

On Pakistan, the President said that while the government was committed to resolving all outstanding issues with Pakistan through dialogue, Islamabad had to take credible action against terrorist groups and related infrastructure on its soil. External relations of the UPA government figures extensively in the speech but they are mere reiteration of known facts.

Noting that security situation in the north-eastern States and Jammu & Kashmir had shown considerable improvement, Ms. Patil said the government had always been willing to enter into dialogue with any group willing to abjure the path of violence.

On the contentious Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, the President said the government looked forward to its early enactment.

Maintaining that after the Fukushima accident in Japan in March 2011 the government ordered technical reviews of all safety systems of nuclear power plants in the country, the President noted that the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill had been introduced in the Parliament.

Akhilesh, the star

Easily the star in the Central Hall, the venue of the address, was the Samajwadi Party MP from Kanauj and Chief Minister-designate of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav.

Before arrival of Ms. Patil, he could be seen going around shaking hands and seeking blessings of members from across the political spectrum.

He also walked up to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's seat and greeted her with folded hands, bowing.

Ms. Sonia Gandhi went to SP Chief Mulayam Singh's chair to wish him on his party's success in UP. Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, the star campaigner of the party in the just- concluded U.P. Assembly poll, could not be sighted.

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Situation in the north east region is improving? really?
i dint wonder there was a grenade blast in my locality, in
guwahati few weeks back...well, honourable president, at least get your facts right before you deliver such an 'IMPORTANT' speech...sarcasm intended..!

from:  Mathai
Posted on: Mar 13, 2012 at 11:49 IST

The Manmohan Singh government has lost all credibility and therefore
government’s "blueprint for the economy and security" presented by the President to parliament will not carry conviction. The Prime Minister may have "numbers" in parliament, but he and his government do not definitely have popular support in the country.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Mar 12, 2012 at 21:27 IST

The time has really come now to make the post of the President more
meaningful.. it's unfortunate that the role of our President is not
more than that of a rubber stamp. It's true that it's indeed a pride
for us that a woman is the head of our republic, but the question
arises was she the real worthy candidate.

Reforms into the election of the President has to come. For starters
the candidate should be non-political, should be a eminent public
personality. APJ for me was the most charismatic president, certainly
of my life time.

from:  Nitin
Posted on: Mar 12, 2012 at 18:54 IST

This looked like a chairman speech in the annual general body meeting
of a public limited company.Normally that is already printed and circulated to the share holders forming part and parcel of the balance sheet.In the share holder's meeting on the anointed date ,when the chairman starts reading the members used to shout,"We would take this as read"though it is read fully.Same thing is happening in the speech of
President.There is a difference.Here the members shout and disrupt so that nothing is heard fully including the members of the ruling party.
This impatience has become the culture of the country nurtured by the
elected members.Would there be any change when the New President
makes a speech after few months?

from:  seshachalam gopalakrishnan
Posted on: Mar 12, 2012 at 16:31 IST

The leaders of parliament(both government and opposition) must rise to
the occasion, the pulse of the nation is one for unity, it is for
action, and so the leaders of parliament must set the tone in their
opening speeches, and clearly promise the nation
that this session of parliament will not only witness good debate, but
there will be delivery of good pieces of legislation
the right tone must be set
Indians are watching
the world is watching
And to the editors of all newspapers, and TV channels , this is all I
have to say, there come moments when you too have to
unite(irrespective of your political tilt-- right, centre or
left),this is a time when you too have to deliver by uniting the
nation, and sending its message to our parliament
that India's wants this session to deliver more , than any previous
session of parliament
that is the pulse of the nation,that is the hope of a billion people
we want parliament to deliver,and deliver now

from:  raj
Posted on: Mar 12, 2012 at 16:09 IST

All said and done Budget is prepared by the Government and i guess we have never seen any President questions the budget openly (may be discreetly) that being the case why doesn't the prime minister give it and start the budget session with disruption right away.

If this is a precursor for what's going to come in the budget session and stop developmental activities, ppl would not forgive our law makers.

With no disrespect to our President,It's time we seriously discuss the need of Presidential/Governor Post in our country.Does these post really serve the cause.


from:  Rajan
Posted on: Mar 12, 2012 at 15:37 IST

Let the leaders of our parliament(government and opposition),set the
tone for a positive session,let them set the tone for a session of
parliament ,that delivers results ,that defines the moment when
India's parliament in unison set the stated objective of making India
an economic superpower
Let the senior editors of all papers(centre ,right ,left,english
vernacular) and TV channels lend a helping hand in also setting the
tone for a positive session
That's the pulse of the nation
for unity, for action,concrete and positive in this session of
let our leaders set a positive tone
that's the hope of a very ordinary citizen
that's the hope of the nation

from:  raj
Posted on: Mar 12, 2012 at 15:26 IST

Can a president use the term like 'my government'?
What does it imply?

from:  Ashish
Posted on: Mar 12, 2012 at 14:47 IST

no doubt that the indian economy has grown in the last decades but what about the problems which are in seen since independance. the solution to the problem of poverty is yet to be defined , there is a growth in economy with a growth of poverty !

from:  damini
Posted on: Mar 12, 2012 at 14:13 IST

Better Governance!!!! What a joke. You sound more like UPA spokes person rather than the President of this country.

from:  Debashish
Posted on: Mar 12, 2012 at 14:10 IST

Using valuable words like just, secular, plural, inclusive, Indians have been bullied for decades...What a common indian is action and not speeches or jargons !

from:  Amol
Posted on: Mar 12, 2012 at 12:56 IST
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