AGENCYNew Delhi: Asserting that national security is the government’s “topmost priority”, President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said India has amply demonstrated its intent and capabilities through surgical strikes and Balakot air strikes, and in future too, all possible steps will be taken to ensure security. Kovind said the government is rapidly taking forward the work of modernisation of the Army and the armed forces. In this regard, the country is going to receive its first Rafale fighter aircraft and the Apache helicopters in the near future, he said. “New India will be sensitive and also economically prosperous. But for this to happen, the nation’s security is of utmost importance. My government accords topmost priority to national security. Therefore, effective steps are being taken to tackle terrorism and naxalism,” the President said in his address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament.
‘Efforts on to ensure safe environment in J&K’New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said the central government is making all efforts to ensure a safe and peaceful environment for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.In his address to the joint sitting of both houses of Parliament, Kovind said the government is also committed to take all necessary steps for the development of Jammu and Kashmir.“My government is making efforts with complete dedication to provide a safe and peaceful environment for residents of Jammu and Kashmir.“The recently concluded peaceful elections to local bodies and to Lok Sabha have bolstered our efforts,” he said.Jammu and Kashmir is currently under President’s rule and schedule for the assembly elections is expected to be announced after the Amarnath Yatra, which will come to an end in mid-August.
Constitutionally, the President is the head of the state as well as the government. “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.
The Army carried out surgical strikes on terror launch pads in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in 2016, while the Air Force carried out air strikes at Balakot in Pakistan.
To secure the future of the children of those who guard the borders and ensure peace and security for the nation, the amount of scholarship under the ‘National Defence Fund’ has been increased, Kovind said.
For the first time, the children of state police personnel have also been included in this scholarship, he added.
Special emphasis is being accorded by the government to the manufacture of modern armaments under ‘Make in India’, Kovind said, noting that 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.
Through ‘One Rank, One Pension’, an increased pensionary benefits to ex-servicemen, and expansion of health facilities, efforts are being made to improve their living standards, the President added.
The National War Memorial near the India Gate, in Delhi, built by the government seven decades after India’s independence, is a tribute to the martyrs by a grateful nation, he said.
“Similarly, my government has set up the National Police Memorial in memory of police personnel who were martyred while safeguarding the security of the country,” the President said.
He also underlined the government’s resolve to remove “social evils” of triple talaq and ‘nikah halala’ and promised to intensify its crackdown on corruption.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and MPs of both Houses in attendance, the President said the Lok Sabha polls 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.
“The people of the country have given a very clear mandate in this election. After assessing the performance of the government during its first tenure, people have given even stronger support for the second term. By doing so, they have given a mandate for continuing uninterrupted and at an accelerated pace the journey of development which started in 2014,” he said.
He also pushed for simultaneous elections in the country, saying it is the “need of the hour.”
He said 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.
“Therefore, I urge all Members of Parliament to seriously ponder over this development oriented proposal of One Nation – Simultaneous Elections,” he said.
His suggestion came a day after Modi held deliberations with presidents of 21 political parties over the issue.
He noted that half of the MPs in this Lok Sabha have been elected for the first time and the presence of 78 women MPs, the highest ever, presents the picture of a new India.
He spoke about the decision to start pension schemes for farmers and small traders, and extending the scheme to give Rs 6000 input subsidy to all farmers.
Noting that a strong national economy can be built only on the foundation of a strong rural economy, he said an investment of Rs 25 lakh crore will be made in the coming years in order to enhance agriculture productivity.
To double income of farmers by 2022, when India will complete its 75 years of Independence, several steps have been taken in the last five years, the President said.
Talking about the federal structure of the country, Kovind said “strengthening the system and spirit of cooperative federalism, my government is taking the states along to achieve national goals.”
Asserting that the world supports India’s position on terrorism, he said UN’s declaration of JeM chief Masood Azhar as “global terrorist” is a proof of this.
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