President Ram Nath Kovind spoke about various important issues while addressing a joint sitting of both houses in the Parliament on the opening day of the Budget session on Friday. In his speech, Kovind said that holding the Parliament session during the pandemic has great significance. “It is the beginning of a new year and a new decade. We will also be entering the 75th year of India’s independence this year,” the President said.
Kovind also spoke of how the nation was able to overcome multiple adversities. “The unity and dedication of Indians have enabled the nation to overcome multiple adversities. Our country has faced every crisis with fortitude — be it the Covid-19 pandemic, floods, earthquakes or major cyclones in several States, locust attack or the bird flu,” he said. “The past also saw an unprecedented escalation in tension along the border. The nation stood together, battled crises on multiple fronts and surmounted every challenge.”
The President also quoted Malayalam poet Vallathol Narayana Menon during his address. “The great Malayalam poet Vallathol, who composed immortal patriotic lyrics during the Independence struggle, had had said: Bharatam Enna Peru Kettal Abhimana Puridam Aaganam Antarangam. That is, whenever you hear the name of Bharat, your heart should swell with pride,” Kovind said.
He paid tribute to former President Pranab Mukherjee and six other parliamentarians who died of Covid-19. “In this fight against the pandemic, we have also suffered the untimely loss of life of a number of our countrymen. Our beloved former President and my predecessor Shri Pranab Mukherjee too passed away during the pandemic. The untimely demise of six Members of Parliament was also due to the coronavirus. I pay my heartfelt tribute to all of them,” he said.
The President also praised the Centre’s “timely decision” during the Covid-19 pandemic that saved many lives. “During the coronavirus pandemic, India has emerged on the global stage with renewed vigour. It gives me satisfaction that due to timely and calibrated decisions taken by my government, we were able to save the lives of lakhs of our countrymen. Today, there is a rapid decline in the number of new cases of coronavirus and, at the same time there is a significant increase in the number of recoveries,” he said.
The President also praised the government for several schemes that helped in the betterment of the citizens of the nations. He also defended and praised the three farm laws. “The agriculture sector is a priority for my government. I am happy to announce that my government has set new records in buying at Minimum Selling Price from farmers at one-and-a-half times more than the cost based on recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee report on the agriculture sector. Under the per drop-more crop initiative, my government is working round-the-clock to ensure a better product for our farmers,” Kovind said.
He also expressed unhappiness over the Republic Day clash that took place in New Delhi. He said, “My government has always respected freedom of expression and holding of peaceful agitations in a democratic setup. However, the recent acts of dishonouring the National Flag and showing disrespect to the auspicious occasion of the Republic Day are unfortunate. While the Constitution gives us the right to freedom of expression it is also expected that we abide by the laws and rules with equal sincerity.”
The President also reminded everyone of the achievements of the government. “In the past few years, India has accomplished many tasks which were once considered extremely difficult to achieve,” he said.
“After the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 the people of Jammu and Kashmir, have been empowered with new entitlements. This also includes the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the Parliament. Creation of a post of Chief of Defence Staff will benefit the country and the participation of women in the Armed Forces is increasing. Construction of Ram Mandir has commenced after the Supreme Court judgement. India has registered a record improvement in the Ease of Doing Business ranking. Now, special emphasis is being laid on reducing Compliance Burden…,” said the President.
Ahead of the Budget session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this decade is very important for the country. “Today commences the first session of this decade. This decade is very important for the bright future of India,” Modi said. He continued, “A golden opportunity has come before the nation to fulfil the dreams of the freedom fighters. This decade will be utilised completely.”
“Probably for the first time in India’s history, the finance minister had to give four-five mini budgets in 2020 in the form of different packages. I am confident that this budget will be seen as a part of the mini budgets,” Modi said.