Seeking to heal the fractured and contentious politics of the previous years, President Pranab Mukherjee today said the new government at the Centre will work for development in a resurgent India in which corruption will have no place.
“They (people of India) have voted for a united, strong and modern India — Ek Bharat—Shreshta Bharat — My government will work to fulfil these aspirations, with the involvement of all the 125 crore people of this great country,” he said.
The President was addressing the first joint sitting of Parliament as mandatorily required under the Constitution after general elections that brought in the Narendra Modi government last month.
In a word of assurance to minorities, the address said the new government is committed to making all minorities equal partners in India’s progress.
The address is the political, economic and foreign policy road map of the Modi government voted to power and covers virtually all the crucial areas including the need to address the difficult economic situation in which inflation has to be reined in and growth to be reignited.
Mr. Mukherjee noted that the just-concluded election has been an election of hope.
“The surge in aspirations and the belief that these could be realised through democratic processes, has been amply reflected in the record 66.4 per cent participation by voters and a clear verdict in favour of a single political party after a gap of nearly 30 years.
“The electorate transcended the boundaries of caste, creed, region and religion to come together and vote decisively in favour of ‘Development through Good Governance’,” he said.
Newly-elected Lok Sabha members and those belonging to the Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Modi, his cabinet colleagues, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and other opposition leaders heard the 50—minute speech with rapt attention interspersed by occasional thumping of desks.
The President said putting the economy back on track is paramount.
The government will put it back into a high growth path, rein in inflation, reignite the investment, accelerate job creation and restore the confidence of the domestic and international community.
“My government will create a policy environment which is predictable, transparent and fair. It will embark on rationalisation and simplification of the tax regime to make it non-adversarial and conductive to investment, enterprise and growth.
“My government will make every effort to introduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) while addressing the concerns of states. Reforms will be undertaken to enhance the ease of doing business. My government will follow a policy of encouraging investments, including through FDI, which will be allowed in sectors that help create jobs and assets,” Mukherjee said.
On the foreign policy, the President said while the government was committed to work towards building a peaceful, stable and economically inter—linked neighbourhood, “we will never shy away from raising issues of concern to us at a bilateral level.
“We emphasise that the future of shared prosperity can only be built on the foundation of stability in the region, which requires sensitivity to security concerns and an end to export of terrorism to neighbours.”