From minorities first to poor first
The address put focus on alleviating the miseries of the poor, as the President said, ‘The first claim on the development belongs to the poor.’ This is a stark deviation from the previous UPA government, when former prime minister Manmohan Singh had said in 2006 that they (minorities) must have the first claim on resources. However, in a word of assurance to minorities, the President said the new government was committed to making all minorities equal partners in country’s progress.
Having made clear that his government would not indulge in any kind ‘social appeasement’, the President went on to address the core issues which the BJP had highlighted in their poll manifesto –inflation and corruption. Realising that the UPA government’s failure to contain price rise of the essential commodities in the past few years spelt doom for Manmohan Singh government, the address outlined ways and means to contain price rise.
During his 50-minute address delivered to the joint session of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha in the Central Hall of Parliament, Mukherjee said that the government was committed to eliminating poverty from the country and ending poverty was the greatest challenge before the government.
Putting focus on the issues bothering the nation for the past few months, the President said, ‘Containing food inflation will be the top most priority for my government. There will be an emphasis on improving the supply side of various agro and agro-based products. My government will take effective steps to prevent hoarding and black marketing. It will form the Public Distribution System incorporating best practices from the states. My government is alert about the possibility of a sub-normal monsoon this year. Contingency plans are being prepared.’
Underlining the difficult phase of the country’s economy, the President said, steps will be taken to restore the confidence of the domestic as well as international community in our economy.
Targeting cases of corruption in the previous government, the President said: ‘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 conducive to investment, enterprise and growth.’ The President said the government will adopt a National Land Use Policy to facilitate scientific identification of non-cultivable land and its strategic development.
The President said India was determined to work towards building a peaceful, stable and economically interlinked neighbourhood.