Millennium Post

Pranab sets agenda for govt with eye on 2014

With an eye on the 2014 general elections, the Presidential address on Thursday set the agenda for the government to set its house in order. With Manmohan Singh government’s credibility rammed by cases of corruption and spiralling inflation, President Pranab Mukherjee, in his first address to the joint session of Parliament, stressed on the need for probity in public life and managing economy.

‘The Indian economy is currently experiencing slower growth, real GDP grew by 5.4 per cent in the first half of the current fiscal year. This is significantly lower than the average of around eight per cent in the last decade. Our slower growth is the consequence of a combination of global and domestic factors. Inflation is easing gradually but is still a problem,’ said Mukherjee in his speech.

In the wake of one scam emerging after another and the government on the back foot, the president said the government remains committed to ushering in reforms for greater transparency, probity, integrity and accountability in governance. ‘My government attaches priority to the enactment of legislation proposed in the Whistle Blowers’ Protection Bill, the Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials, and the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, which already stand introduced in Parliament,’ said Mukherjee.

Emphasising on the need to address the impact of global and domestic factors, the president said the government is taking steps to deal with the factors responsible for the slowdown. The president, in his speech, also acknowledged there are anxieties within people about job security, employment prospects and the persisting social economic inequality in the country.

Against the backdrop of the recent gangrape and death of a 23-year-old girl in Delhi, the president expressed deep concerns over incidents of sexual offences against women and referred to the promulgation of an ordinance providing for stringent punishment in such cases.

‘People are concerned about the security of our women and children. After considering the recommendations of the Justice JS Verma Committee, the government has promulgated an ordinance, amending the criminal law to provide for stringent punishment for heinous sexual offences against women,’ said Mukherjee.


India will launch its first space mission to Mars this year, President PranabMukherjee said on Thursday.

‘Several space missions are planned for 2013, including India’s first mission to Mars and the launch of our first navigational satellite,’ Mukherjee said in his maiden address to the joint sitting of Parliament at the start of the Budget session.

The Indian Space Research Organisation will also put in orbit the first of its seven satellites of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS). The system is India’s version of the Global Positioning System. The Mars Orbiter mission, scheduled for launch in October, will look for signature of life and reasons for loss of atmosphere on the red planet.
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