Laying the roadmap of the Narendra Modi government for its second term, President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said empowering every person is the main goal for a 'New India' by 2022 on the back of a "stronger mandate" for continuing uninterrupted the journey of development started in 2014.
As he highlighted the Modi government's achievements and priorities in an hour-long address to the joint sitting of Parliament, Kovind also pushed for simultaneous elections, saying it is the "need of the hour."
Asserting that the government was moving ahead to create a "strong, secure and inclusive" India, the president said national security was paramount for the government and touched upon surgical strikes and air strikes on Pakistan-based terror camps.
Kovind also underlined the government's resolve to remove "social evils" of triple talaq and 'nikah halala' to ensure equal rights for women, take forward the campaign against black money at a faster pace and make the zero-tolerance policy against corruption more comprehensive and effective.
On issues relating to the economy, Kovind, dressed in a cream 'bandgala', said the government will soon announce a new industrial policy aimed at promoting growth and creating jobs.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and MPs of both Houses in attendance in the Central Hall of Parliament for the joint sitting after the formation of the 17th Lok Sabha, the President said the general elections had enhanced the credibility of Indian democracy as a record number of people--61 crore--voted, including the highest share of women.
Kovind, in his speech, which is prepared by the government of the day, said empowering every person in the country is the main goal of the ruling dispensation which, he added, wants to build a 'New India' by 2022 in which there is no discrimination on the grounds of caste or religion. "My government is giving residential, health facilities to poor as poverty can be removed only by empowering them," he said.
To decode the speech, CNBC-TV18 spoke to Mohandas Pai, chairman of Aarin Capital Partners; AK Bhattacharya, Editor of Business Standard; Syed Zafar Islam, BJP spokesperson and Siraj Hussain, former secretary of agriculture.
Pai said, "Now, we are seeing a self-assured PM Modi focusing on the big issues of this country namely jobs, security, justice, infrastructure and better quality of life."
Bhattacharya said, "President's speech does point out that the government should be seen as an empowering agent for the people."
"The emphasis on water conservation is very well designed and I hope that various ministries which are entrusted with the task of conserving water and reducing the usage of water in agriculture will actually work in tandem with each other and results will be achieved," Hussain said.
(With inputs from PTI)