NEW DELHI, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) — Indian President Pranab Mukherjee said on Tuesday that the government is committed to development for all as he kicked off the Budget Session of Parliament by addressing a joint session of both houses.
Outlining the Indian government’s policies in his address attended by lawmakers cutting across party lines, President Mukherjee termed it as a “historic session” due to the advancement of General Budget and the merging of Rail Budget for the first time.
“We gather once again to celebrate democracy to celebrate the culture which says sabka saath sabka vikas (with all, development for all). At the core of all my government’s policies is welfare of poor, Dalit (lower caste), downtrodden, deprived, farmers, laborers and young people,” he said.
The president added: “My government has helped poor through housing schemes, clean water and green energy initiatives. Just as the drops of rain water and streams converging in the sea, my government’s policies converge for the development of the poor.”
Spelling out two other schemes, he said they provide clean water, free gas connections and smoke free kitchens. “Under the rural electrification scheme, over 11,000 villages, in darkness since independence, have been electrified,” Mukherjee said.
Calling youth India’s greatest strength, the president said: “65 percent population is below the age of 35. Young people are our greatest strength. Their energies must be channelized.”
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged all political parties “to help in the smooth functioning” of Parliament, pointing out that “this is the first time the budget has been advanced by a month.”
The Budget is generally presented in the Indian Parliament on the last working day in February, but it has been advanced this year to ensure all proposals take effect from April 1, the start of the new fiscal year.