President Ramnath Kovind addresses the first session of 17th Lok Sabha in a joint sitting of both the houses on Thursday. The President’s speech will be followed by the proceedings in the house chaired by the newly elected speaker, two-time MP from Rajasthan Om Birla.

The Budget session had commenced on Monday with the oath taking of all the members of the parliament. 313 MPs led by PM Modi took were administered the oath on Monday while 222 lawmakers took oath on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the elections for speaker were held where a two time MP from Rajasthan Om Birla was elected. The parliament sessions will go on till the 26th of July. The Economic survey and the Budget will be presented on July 4th and 5th respectively.

“In the year of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi after the election of the 17th Lok Sabha, I am happy to address the first joint session of Parliament. I convey my heartfelt congratulations to all the MPs elected to this Lok Sabha,” said the President beginning his speech.

The President, delivering his speech in the central hall of Parliament said “In the last five years, the citizen is concerned that the government is for them. People have voted for long for getting basic facilities.”

The president lauded the role played by women and youth in the Lok Sabha Elections 2019. He said women participated in the democratic exercise in huge numbers almost equal to that of men and congratulated all the voters for the success of the elections 2019.

 Attributing the clear mandate by the electorate to the government initiatives on the lines of ‘sabka saath sabka vikaas,’ the president said the government will come up with more such initiatives.

He added the Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi will be extended to every farmer in the country regardless of the size of land holding. The PM-KISAN scheme was announced in the interim budget early this year which provides farmers with an income support of Rs 6,000 a year for the input costs.

The president said “For the first time, a government has focused on the economic security of younger shopkeepers. A separate ‘pension scheme’ for small shopkeepers and retail traders has been approved in the first cabinet meeting. The scheme will benefit about 3 crore small shopkeepers.”

Referring to the new Jal Shakti ministry he said is a decisive step as the water crisis is in the country expected to deepen. He said “the government is of the view that not only women should grow, but women should be led by development.”

The president lauded the efforts of government for benefitting at least 3 crore women in rural areas with over 2 lakh crore under the National Livelihood mission. On the health care front he said “About 26 lakh poor patients will benefit under Ayushman Bharat scheme and 1.5 lakh wellness centers which are likely to function by 2022.

Under Mudra Yojana, the President said 19 crore loans were given-out to promote self-employment. The scheme is said to benefit at least 30 crore people.

On the bills of Triple Talaq and Nikah Halala he said “To ensure equal rights for every sister and daughter in the country, eradication of malpractices like ‘three divorces’ and ‘nikah-halala’ is necessary. I would request all members.”

Marking the Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, events will be held across the world to promote India’s ‘thought leadership.’ He also added events marking 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev will spread the spiritual enlightenment across the world.

President said that the government has increased the scholarship amount for the children of Brave martyrs funded through the National Defence Fund.  “This is the first time that the children of state police personnel have been included in the scheme,” Kovind added.

President Kovind said his government is committed to the initiative of ‘Blue revolution’ to improve the fisheries sector. “Today, India ranks second in the world in fish production. We have the capacity to grab the first place,” Kovind added. 

On Banking, Kovind said the government is planning to take the PM Jan Dhan Yojana to the doorsteps of the people through the latest India Post Payments Bank in rural areas.

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