Obtaining a massive mandate in elections, the government on Thursday promised to build a strong, safe and all-inclusive India and take all steps to ensure the country's security while giving a fresh push to "One Nation, One Election" concept.
Outlining the Modi government's vision in its second term, President Ram Nath Kovind, in his customary address to joint sitting of Parliament, said the the building of a "Strong, Safe, Prosperous and All-inclusive India" is inspired by the basic spirit of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas aur Sabka Vishwas' (With all, development for all and with everyone's trust)."
In his nearly hour-long speech in the Central Hall of Parliament which, was repeatedly cheered by MPs of the ruling NDA combine with loud thumping of desks, the President spoke of the achievements during the first tenure of the Modi government and enumerated the steps to be taken to put the country on firm footing on basis of its political, social and economic agenda.
Referring to the Pulwama terror attack and the subsequent aerial strikes in Balakot across the border, Kovind said that "in future too all possible steps will be taken to ensure the country's security".
"India has amply demonstrated both her intent and capabilities, first through surgical strikes and then through air strikes after the Pulwama attack at terrorist hideouts across the border. In future too, all possible steps will be taken to ensure our security," he said.
A day after Modi called a meeting of the Presidents of all parties represented in Parliament to discuss his pet idea of "One Nation, One Election", the President said it was the need of the hour and all MPs should ponder over it.
"Our vibrant democracy has also matured adequately. During the last few decades, due to frequent elections being held in some part of the country or the other, the pace and continuity of development programmes have been impacted.
"Our countrymen have demonstrated their wisdom by delivering a clear verdict both at State and National issues. 'One Nation - Simultaneous Elections' is the need of the hour, which would facilitate accelerated development, thereby benefitting our countrymen.
"With such a system in place, all political parties, according to their respective ideologies, will be able to better utilise their energy towards development and public welfare. Therefore, I urge all Members of Parliament to seriously ponder over this development oriented proposal of 'One Nation - Simultaneous Elections'."
Praising the voters of the country for giving a very clear mandate in the election, the President said after assessing the performance of the Government during the first tenure, the people have given even stronger support for the second term.
"By doing so, the people of the country have given a mandate for continuing uninterrupted and at an accelerated pace the journey of development which started in 2014," he said.
"Giving the highest regard to that mandate, my Government started to march forward without any discrimination with the mantra of 'Sabka Saath- Sabka Vikas', to create a New India," he said
The President's address also focused on another issue - infiltration-- that was brought by the BJP during the recent elections.
"Illegal infiltrators pose a major threat to our internal security. This is leading to social imbalance in many parts of the country, as well as putting a huge pressure on limited livelihood opportunities.
"My Government has decided to implement the process of 'National Register of Citizens' on priority basis in areas affected by infiltration. Security along the border will be further strengthened to prevent infiltration," he said.
Kovind said while on the one hand, Government is working to identify the infiltrators, on the other, it is also fully committed to protecting the victims of persecution due to their faith.
"In this regard, efforts will be made to amend the Citizenship Act while protecting the linguistic, cultural and social identities," he said.
Asserting that New India will be sensitive and also economically prosperous, the President said but for this to happen nation's security is of utmost importance.
"My Government accords top most priority to national security. Therefore, effective steps are being taken to tackle Terrorism and Naxalism," he said.
"My Government is resolutely working to eradicate the menace of Naxalism from the country. Considerable success has been achieved in this direction during the last 5 years. The area affected by Naxalism is reducing continuously. In the coming years, development projects will be expedited in these areas, which will benefit our tribal brothers and sisters residing there," he said.
On Kashmir, Kovind said that my Government is making efforts with complete dedication to provide a safe and peaceful environment to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
"The recently concluded peaceful elections to local bodies and to Lok Sabha have bolstered our efforts. My Government is committed to take all necessary steps for the development of Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
Touching on the topic of modernisation of the army and the armed forces, the President said India was going the receive the delivery of first 'Rafale' fighter aircraft and 'Apache' helicopters in the near future.
"Special emphasis is being accorded by the Government to manufacture of modern armaments under 'Make in India'. The policy of indigenously manufacturing weapons such as modern rifles and cannons, tanks and combat aircrafts is being carried forward successfully. 'Defence Corridors' coming up in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu will further strengthen this mission. While fulfilling our security requirements, export of defence equipment is also being encouraged," he said.
On economy, the President said India is now on the way to become the world's 5th largest economy in terms of GDP.
"To maintain the high growth rate, reform process will continue. It is our objective to make India a 5-trillion dollar economy by 2024," he said.
"Work is underway in full earnest to transform India into a Global Manufacturing Hub. Keeping in view Industry 4.0, a New Industrial Policy will be announced shortly. In 'Ease of Doing Business', India has leap-frogged 65 positions during the past 5 years, from a ranking of 142 in 2014 to 77.
"Now our goal is to be among the top 50 countries of the world. In order to achieve this, process of simplification of rules will be further expedited in collaboration with the States. In this sequence, necessary amendments are also being brought in the Companies Law," Kovind said.
Touching on the unfinished task during the government's earlier tenure, the President said to secure equal rights for every sister and daughter in the country, eradication of social evils like 'Triple Talaq' and 'Nikah-Halala' is imperative.
"I would urge all the members to cooperate in these efforts to make the lives of our sisters and daughters better and dignified," he said.