President lauds govt’s efforts to build ‘New India’

President Ram Nath Kovind lauds govt’s efforts to build ‘New India’

President Ramnath Kovind on Thursday described the current government as one that had worked to build a “New India” after assuming power in 2014 when, he said, the country was passing through “uncertain times.” The President was addressing a joint sitting of Parliament before the last budget session of the government.

The address also gave a thumbs-up to contentious decisions of the government including demonetisation and the Rafale deal, which Mr. Kovind described as a move that would strengthen the strike capability of the Indian Air Force after a gap of many decades. The government believes that neglecting the country’s defence needs even for a moment is detrimental to the present as well as future of the country, he said.

President Ram Nath Kovind addresses the parliamentarians at the Central Hall of Parliament, in New Delhi, on Thursday.

In his address to the joint session of Parliament, President Ram Nath Kovind highlights various development works of the NDA government

“Prior to the 2014 general election, the country was passing through a phase of uncertainty. After the elections, my government assumed charge and vowed to build a New India. A New India with no place for imperfect, corrupt and inertia-ridden systems,” President Kovind said.

He added that “demonetisation was a defining moment in the government’s war on corruption and black money. This decision struck at the very root of the parallel economy thriving on black money, and the money outside the formal system was brought within the ambit of the nation’s economy.”

The President also referred to the Constitutional Amendment recently passed by Parliament enabling 10% reservation in jobs for the economically weaker sections in the general category, the triple talaq legislation and the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill in the speech that lasted over an hour.

Touching on the triple talaq Bill, which has been stuck in Rajya Sabha after being passed in Lok Sabha, Mr Kovind said the BJP-led NDA government was striving hard to get it passed by Parliament to “liberate Muslim daughters” from a life of fear and anxiety, and to provide them with equal rights.

Highlighting the government’s achievements and various welfare schemes, President Kovind said 21 crore poor people were covered under the PM’s life insurance scheme, while over two crore households had got power connections as part of the Saubhagya scheme. “Under the Swachh Bharat initiative, the government has built nine crore toilets,” he said. He also described 2019 as a significant year for democracy as the country is observing the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

“Be it cities or villages, the government has worked towards strengthening the health care infrastructure by building new AIIMS and wellness centres across the country,” the President said.

Citing other achievements of the government, President Kovind said the number of people filing income tax returns had doubled from 3.8 crore to 6.8 crore under its tenure and added that over 73% of around 15 crore Mudra loan beneficiaries were women.

Approvals for works costing over ₹66,000 crore out of the ₹80,000 crore package had been given by the government for development in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, asserting that the government was committed to the border State’s growth.


Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas:NRIs are India’s brand ambassador

Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas-NRIs are India’s brand ambassadors: PM 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday described non-resident Indians as India’s brand ambassadors and said they were the symbols of the country’s capabilities. The Prime Minister was inaugurating the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas convention in his parliamentary constituency Varanasi on Tuesday.

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Mr. Modi also alluded to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s comment that only 15 paise of ₹1 reaches masses and said the Congress government had done nothing to stop the leakage. Mr. Modi added that his government had stepped in to rectify the situation. The “85 per cent loot” taking place during the Congress regime had been plugged “100 per cent” through technology, he said.

The theme of this year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas convention is ‘Role of Indian diaspora in building new India’

“We have given about ₹5,80,000 crore to people, transferred to their bank accounts through various schemes. Imagine, if the country was being run on the older system? Then ₹4,50,000 crore would have vanished,” Mr. Modi said.

Continuing his attack on the Congress, he said efforts to stop the “leakage” could have been made earlier as well but there was no intention and will power. “Our government is moving towards ensuring that the aid given by government is directly transferred to beneficiary accounts through direct benefit schemes,” he said.

Mauritian Premier lauds Modi

Mauritian Premier Pravind Jugnauth, who is the chief guest for the three-day event, also spoke on the occasion. Mr. Jugnauth hailed India’s transformation through initiatives such as the Skill India and the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao schemes. He also praised Mr. Modi’s global stewardship in promoting clean energy and for setting up the International Solar Alliance.

Mr. Jugnauth announced that his country will hold a Bhagwad Gita Mahotsav next month and a Bhojpuri Festival next year. For the first time, the three-day convention is being organised from January 21 to 23 instead of January 9 to allow participants to visit the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad and attend the Republic Day parade in the national capital. The theme of this year’s convention is ‘Role of Indian diaspora in building new India’.


Narendra Modi, Shinzo Abe lay foundation for bullet train

PM Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe lay foundation for bullet train in India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart from Japan Shinzo Abe laid the foundation for the country’s first high speed train project Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train in Ahmedabad.

Prime Minister Modi described the bullet train as “symbol of New India” and stressed that the country must focus on creating high speed connectivity infrastructure as the transport is the future.Narendra Modi

“The high speed trains will usher in next generation economic growth with multiple employment opportunities,” he said.

“I hope to enjoy the beauty of India through the windows of the Bullet Train when I come to India in a few years,” Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said while addressing the gathering near Sabarmati Railway station in Ahmedabad.

The 508 km long project to be built with estimated investment of ₹ 1,08,000 crore will be funded up to 81 per cent by Japan with soft loan of ₹ 88,000 crore at interest rate of 0.1 per cent with repayment period 50 years.

Key Project features:

  • Length 508 kms double line. Mumbai Ahmedabad High Speed Rail will be passing through two states, Maharashtra 155.642 KMs and Gujarat 350.530 KMs and one Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli 2 KMs. Longest 21 KMs tunnel with 7 KMs under sea at Thane Creek.
  • 12 stations: Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad, Sabarmati. Except Mumbai, all other stations will be elevated.
  • Maximum Design Speed – 350 kmph while Maximum Operating speed of 320 kmph.
  • Journey time: – 2.07 hrs (limited stops), 2.58 hrs (stopping at all stations).
  • Maintenance of Trains – Sabarmati (Depot & Workshop) and Thane Depot.
  • Operations Control Centre (OCC) at Sabarmati. High Speed Railway training Centre which was earlier planned at Gandhinagar will now be located at Vadodara.

“It is for the first time in history in India that an infrastructure project is being funded on such favourable terms,” a release issued by the Gujarat government stated, claiming the entire project would be funded without putting any strain on existing financial resources of the country.

The release stated that the project testing and commissioning date has been advanced from December 2023 to August 2022.

According to the details of the project, the Mumbai Ahmedabad High Speed Rail will be passing through two states, Maharashtra 155.642 kms and Gujarat 350.530 kms and one Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli 2 kms. The double track project involves 21 km tunnel with seven km under sea tunnel at Thane Creek in Mumbai.

There will be 12 stations starting from underground station in Mumbai while remaining stations at Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad, and Sabarmati will be elevated.

As part of the project, a dedicated High Speed Rail Training Institute is being developed in Vadodara and will become functional by end of 2020. Around 4000 staff members will be trained in this institute and they will be responsible for operation and maintenance of the ambitious project, which will usher in the new era of high speed railways in the country.

The central government’s flagship Make In India will also get a major boost as the high speed train project’s implementation begins as most of the components, track systems and even rolling stocks will be manufactured in India with the help of Japan government and private sector companies involved in manufacturing railway components.

“The construction sector in India will also get a big boost not only in terms of investment but also with respect to new technology and work culture. This project is likely to generate employment for about 20,000 workers during the construction phase, who will be trained specialist to take up construction of such projects in India,” the release stated.


Take fight against black-money, graft to next level: PM

Take fight against black-money, graft to next level: PM Narendra Modi

Asking the people to take the fight against black-money and graft to the “next level”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today urged them to use less cash in their daily lives and continue to support the movement towards digital payments started after the note ban.

black-money, statIn his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme, he also spoke of building a ‘New India’, which he said can be achieved when 125 crore Indians take a pledge and unitedly work towards it.

“My dear countrymen, we must take our fight against black money and corruption to the next level. …. We should contribute towards ensuring reducing the use of cash, of currency notes,” the Prime Minister said.

Asking the people to pay school fees, buy medicines or items from fair price shops or purchase air and train tickets digitally, he said “we can do this in our day to day lives. You can’t imagine how you can serve the country in this way and become a brave soldier in the fight against black money and corruption.”

Observing that the budget had announced that there would be 2500 crore digital transactions this year, he said if 125 crore countrymen can resolve, “they need not wait for a year; they can do it in six months.”

Expressing gratitude to the people, Modi said over the last few months the country has witnessed an atmosphere in which people in large numbers have participated in the digital payment, ‘Digidhan’ movement.

“There has also been an increase in curiosity about cashless transactions. The poorest of the poor are making attempts to learn, and people are gradually moving towards doing business without cash. There has been a surge in various modes of digital payment after demonetisation,” he said, adding that the BHIM App, launched about two and a half months ago, has already been downloaded by one and half crore people.

In his address, the Prime Minister also touched upon subjects ranging from building a “New India” to ‘Swaccha Bharat’, besides greeting the people of Bangladesh on their independence day saying India will always stand with them in the struggle for peace, security and development in the region.

“I hope that Bangladesh marches ahead on the path of progress. I also assure the citizens of Bangladesh that India is a strong partner, and a good friend, and we will continue to work together shoulder to shoulder to contribute towards the peace, security and development of this entire region,” the Prime Minister said.

He said it was a matter of pride that Rabindra Nath Tagore, who has authored the national anthem of Bangladesh and India, had given up his Knighthood in protest against the 1919 massacre of people in Jallianwala Bagh by the British.

This had also provided an “inspiration and a mission in life” to a young teenager, who until then had spent his days playing merrily in the fields. This youngster was none other than Bhagat Singh, then 12-years old, to evolve as a martyr.

Modi also referred to the Champaran Satyagraha launched by Mahatma Gandhi in 1917, saying “through his demeanour and deeds, he could inspire the poorest of the poor, the most illiterate, to unite and come together out into the open for the struggle against the British Rule.

“This was a manifestation of an incredible inner strength, through which we can experience the vastness of Mahatma Gandhi’s great persona,” the Prime Minister said.

He said the government of India has taken “a very important decision” to give working women maternity leave of 26 weeks, instead of the earlier 12 weeks, for their pregnancy and delivery.

“There are now only two or three countries in the world that are ahead of us in this matter. India has taken a very important decision for these working women sisters of ours. The basic aim is to ensure proper care of the newborn, the future citizen of India, from the time of birth. The newborn should get the complete love and attention of the mother.”

Talking about “New India”, he said it is “not a government scheme or political party’s programme. “In essence, every citizen must discharge his civic duties and esponsibilities. This in itself would be a good beginning to the New India.”

The Prime Minister said if 125 crore Indians take a pledge and work unitedly towards making a “New India”, then it is possible to realise this dream of countrymen.

He also talked about his favourite “Swachch Bharat” drive and said people of the country are getting angry as far as dirt is concerned and this will lead to more efforts towards cleanliness. Modi also talked about wastage of food saying it is unfortunate and an injustice to the poor.

He also spoke at length about depression and how it can be overcome by expressing one’s feeling to the near and dear ones and urged the people to help those suffering from it to overcome it.

Talking about the importance of Yoga, he called upon Indians to make the 3rd International Day of Yoga memorable by involving more and more people.

-26 March 2017 | PTI | New Delhi