People gave the mandate to continue with India's development journey that started in 2014, said President Ram Nath Kovind in his speech at the Lok Sabha joint session. Over 61 crore people voted in LS polls, creating record; women got a higher share of votes than earlier.
In his address to the joint sitting of both houses of Parliament in the historic Central Hall, the President noted that women came out in large numbers to exercise their franchise in the general elections.
A record 78 women have been elected as members of the Lok Sabha -- the highest ever -- and almost half of the elected members are first timers, Kovind said in his customary address after the formation of the 17th Lok Sabha.
"In this election, the people of the country gave a clear mandate. After the assessment of the government's first tenure, the people have given it a bigger mandate this time," he said.
The President said, by doing so, the people have given a mandate to accelerate the development process initiated in 2014.
Congratulating the Election Commission and crores of officials and security personnel involved in holding the general elections, he pointed out that over 61 crore people voted in the Lok Sabha polls, creating a record.
Kovind said the government has started a pension scheme to help farmers and small traders live a life of dignity.
Elaborating on steps being taken in the education sector, he said, "My government is working to increase seats in higher educational institutes by 50 per cent by 2024 and will create 2 crore more seats."
"My government is giving residential, health facilities to poor as poverty can be removed only by empowering them," he said.
Kovind said creation of the 'Jal Shakti' ministry is a step towards water conservation as water crisis may deepen in the future.
The President said a new industrial policy will be announced soon. The government of India has amended the first industrial policy of India in 1948, to address the changing environment and to globalize the Indian economy providing more free play of market forces in the domestic economy.
To improve the start-up ecosystem, the Government is simplifying the rules. Our goal is to establish 50,000 start-ups in the country by 2024, said President Ram Nath Kovid during the ongoing joint session of the Parliament today.
He said that India had joined the league of countries with most number of start-ups in the world.
To promote the start-up culture, the Modi Government had launched the Startup India Campaign in 2016.
The National Association of Software and Services Companies, in 2018, had said that start-ups in India had seen a 108 per cent growth in total funding from USD two billion in 2017 to USD 4.2 billion in 2018.
It also said that even with the growth in funding, there was a decline in funding for companies at the seed stage, from USD 191 million in 2017 to USD 151 million in the same year. It had also reported that more than 1,200 start-ups had come up in 2018, including eight unicorns, taking the total number of start-ups in India to 7,200 startups.
The President, Ram Nath Kovind, said that efforts to further simplify GST will continue.
On June 30, India ushered in the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which came into force with effect from July 1, 2017.
The GST implemented in the country stipulates the levy of five GST rates namely at 0%, 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. However effectively, there are more than five GST rates for different commodities in the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the special function held in the central hall of parliament, attended by the President of India and other dignitaries, stated that ushering in of the GST marked a milestone whereby the country was transitioning into “one nation, one market and one tax”. He further argued that GST was “good and simple”, and will help accelerate economic growth, incomes and employment.
Direct Benefit Transfer scheme
He said Rs 7.3 lakh crore has been transferred to people under the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme (DBT) in the last 5 years and over Rs 1.41 lakh crore was saved as 8 crore fake beneficiaries were weeded out.
With DBT, funds are transferred by banks directly to bank accounts of beneficiaries. These accounts are Aadhaar-enabled, in that they are linked to the beneficiary’s Aadhaar number.
"My government will make its policy of zero tolerance towards corruption more expansive and effective," he said.
Kovind said the government will build a transport system with an emphasis on speed, security and environment and will also work to make rivers like Cauvery, Periyar, Mahanadi, Narmada and Godavari pollution free.
Ayushman Bharat scheme:
26 lakh poor patients have benefitted from Ayushman Bharat scheme, 1.5 wellness centres likely to function by 2022, he added.
Launched in 2018, the Ayushman Bharat Yojana or Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) or National Health Protection Scheme, was launched under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), to promote two major health plans: Health and Wellness centres and National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS).
Indu Bhushan is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Dr Dinesh Arora as the Deputy CEO of Ayushman Bharat Yojana.
Triple Talaq and Nikah Halala
He added that removing practices like triple talaq and "nikah halala" essential to give equality to women.
The Lok Sabha on December 27, 2018, passed a bill that makes the practice of instant triple talaq a criminal offence with a three-year jail term after the Modi government rejected the Opposition’s demand to refer the legislation to a joint select committee of Parliament.
National security paramount for my govt, surgical strike and air strike on terror camps have made India's intentions clear, the President said.
"National security paramount for my govt, surgical strike and air strike on terror camps have made India's intentions clear," the President said. In his tweet he also said that the world is standing with India on the issue of terror and the UN's declaration of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist is the proof.
Masood Azhar is the founder and leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed, the Pakistan-based terrorist organisation, active predominantly on Pakistani-administered portion of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (Pok).
The President Ram Nath Kovind has commenced address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament, today, in Hindi, the portions of which were read out in English by Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu.
(With inputs from PTI)