Kovind for simultaneous elections, says terror to end
Appealing for simultaneous parliamentary and Assembly elections, President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday outlined the new Modi government's roadmap, saying it was determined to crush terrorism and Maoism.
Addressing a joint sitting of Parliament, Kovind also said that India was on its way to becoming the world's fifth largest economy in terms of GDP and said the government's aim was to make women equal stakeholders in economic development.
Making a strong case for 'one nation, one election' concept, the President said simultaneous elections were the need of the hour to accelerate development.
"With such a system in place, all political parties... will be able to better utilize their energy towards development and public welfare.
"Therefore, I urge all MPs to seriously ponder over this development-oriented proposal of 'one nation - simultaneous elections'."
The President's remarks came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over an all-party meeting here to pitch for simultaneous parliamentary and state Assembly elections -- an issue that has divided political parties.
Saying economic prosperity was linked to nation's security, Kovind said that effective steps had been taken to tackle terrorism and Maoism.
"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.
"The area affected by Naxalism is reducing continuously."
He said that illegal infiltrators posed a major threat to internal security, leading to social imbalance in many parts of the country.
"My government will make the zero tolerance policy against corruption more comprehensive and effective. The mission to eliminate corruption from public life and government services will be implemented with greater zeal."
He said India was now getting information about economic offenders from 146 countries including Switzerland. "We are now receiving information about all those who have stashed black money abroad."
India, he said, was among the fastest growing economies in the world today and was set to become the world's fifth largest economy in terms of GDP.
As part of economic development, the Modi government was committed to make women equal stakeholders.
"Priority will be given to those enterprises where women's participation in the workforce is more than the prescribed limit."
The President said it was imperative to eradicate social evils like 'triple talaq' and 'nikah-halala'. "
Kovind said that after assessing the performance of the Modi government during the first tenure, the people of the country have given "even stronger support for the second term".
Underlining the need for a strong rural economy, he said that the government will double the income of farmers by 2022.
The President also spoke about the water crisis and the government's determination to clean up the Ganga river.
"On the lines of river Ganga, the government will also endeavour to clean up other rivers such as Kaveri, Periyar, Narmada, Yamuna, Mahanadi and Godavari."
He said that India had acquired a new image today "and its relations with other countries have become stronger".
"The world community supports India's position on various issues... Today the whole world stands with India on the issue of terrorism." IANS