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President Kovind stresses on water conservation and management

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 20, 2019 Published on June 20, 2019

File photo of President Ram Nath Kovind   -  PTI

Amidst serious drought kind of situation in various parts of the country, President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday called for giving equal importance to water conservation and water management just like ‘Swatch Bharat’ campaign.

Addressing the joint session of Parliament, including first session of 17th Lok Sabha, he said that growing water crisis is one of the biggest challenges of the 21 st century.

“Over time, the traditional and effective practices of water conservation in our country are disappearing. Houses have come up over ponds and lakes, and the vanishing water sources have accentuated the water crisis for the poor.

In view of the growing impact of Climate Change and Global Warming, water crisis is likely to aggravate further. Today, the need of the hour is that the way the country has shown seriousness about ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’, the same seriousness be shown in ‘Water Conservation and Management’,” he said.

He also called for conserving water for children and future generations. The creation of the new ‘Ministry of Jalshakti’ is a decisive step in this direction, which will have far-reaching benefits. Through this new Ministry, the systems related to water conservation and management will be made more effective. “My Government is fully conscious of the crisis in the drought-hit areas and stands by every affected citizen. With the support of State Governments and Sarpanches at the village level, it is being ensured that farmers are assisted and the scarcity of drinking water is tackled,” he said.

Here are key points of President’s address on important issues:

Agriculture

  • Large scale investments have been made to strengthen rural India. In order to enhance agriculture productivity, an investment of Rs. 25 lakh crore will be made in the coming years.
  • To double the income of farmers by 2022, several steps have been taken in the last 5 years. Be it the decision to increase the MSP, or approval for 100 percent FDI in food processing; be it completion of the irrigation projects pending for decades or extension of ‘Crop Insurance Scheme’; be it the ‘Soil Health Card’or 100% Neem coating of urea; my Government has taken many decisions, appreciating such numerous small and big needs of the farmers. The Government has made the agriculture policy both production-centric as well as income-centric.
  • An important link in these efforts is ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi’. Through this, an amount of more than Rs. 12,000 crore has been disbursed to the farmers in just three months. An estimated expenditure of Rs. 90,000 crore is likely to be incurred annually on this scheme since every farmer has now been brought in its ambit.
  • With the provision of storage for farm produce, the economic security of the farmers is strengthened. Now the storage facility will be provided to the farmers near their village through the ‘Grameen Bhandaran Yojana’.
  • The benefit of cooperatives in the agriculture sector is being availed by the farmers in the dairy business. In other areas of agriculture also, the target is to create 10,000 new ‘Farmer Producer Organisations’ to benefit the farmers.

Health

  • Cost of medical treatment pushes the poor families into financial crisis. In order to protect them from this crisis, world’s biggest healthcare scheme ‘Ayushman Bharat Yojana’has been implemented, providing ‘Health-Protection-Cover’ to 50 crore poor people. Under this, so far about 26 lakh poor patients have availed treatment in hospitals. In order to provide medicines at affordable rates, 5,300 ‘Jan Aushadhi Kendras’ have also been opened. It is our endeavour to provide medicines at affordable rates to people residing in far-flung areas through these Jan Aushadhi Kendras.
  • The objective is to set up about 1.5 lakh ‘Health and Wellness Centres’ in all rural areas by 2022. So far, about 18,000 such Centres have already been operationalised.

Job, Skill and Education

  • To enable the youth of all strata of society to fulfil their dreams, timely provision of financial resources is being emphasised. The impact of‘Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna’has been felt on a big scale. Under this scheme, about 19 crore loans have been disbursed for self-employment. An effort will now be made to cover 30 crore people by expanding this scheme. A facility for entrepreneurs to avail loan up to Rs. 50 lakh without any guarantee will also be introduced. Apart from this, new employment opportunities will be generated through appropriate policies in sectors which have the potential to accelerate the economy.
  • Today, India has joined the league of countries with most number of start-ups in the world. To improve the start-up ecosystem, the Government is simplifying the rules. This campaign will be further expedited. Our goal is to establish 50,000 start-ups in the country by 2024.
  • Research is being encouraged in higher educational institutions. To further strengthen this effort, it is proposed to establish a ‘National Research Foundation’. This proposed foundation will work as a bridge between different Departments of the Central Government, science laboratories, higher educational institutions and industrial institutions.
  • To enable various higher educational institutions of India to find a place in the top 500 educational institutions of the world, they are being encouraged through grant of autonomy and financial assistance.
  • My Government is striving to increase the number of seats in the country’s Higher Education System by one-and-a-half times by 2024. With this initiative, 2 crore additional seats would be available for the youth in higher educational institutions.

Economy

  • Economic development plays the most vital role in improving the lives of our countrymen. Today India is among the fastest growing economies in the world. Inflation is low, fiscal deficit is under control, foreign exchange reserves are growing and the impact of Make In India is clearly visible.
  • India is now on the way to become the world’s 5thlargest economy in terms of GDP. To maintain the high growth rate, reform process will continue. It is our objective to make India a 5-trillion dollar economy by 2024.
  • Work is underway in full earnest to transform India into a Global Manufacturing Hub. Keeping in view Industry 4.0, a New Industrial Policy will be announced shortly.In ‘Ease of Doing Business’, India has leap-frogged 65 positions during the past 5 years, from a ranking of 142 in 2014 to 77. Now our goal is to be among the top 50 countries of the world.In order to achieve this, process of simplification of rules will be further expedited in collaboration with the States. In this sequence, necessary amendments are also being brought in the Companies Law.
  • Taxation regime plays an important role in accelerating economic development. Along with continuous reform, simplification of taxation system is also being emphasised. Exemption to persons earning up to Rs. 5 lakh from payment of income tax is an important step in this direction.
  • Similarly, indirect tax system is also being made simple and effective. With the implementation of GST, the concept of ‘One country, One tax, One market’ has become a reality. Efforts to further simplify the GST will continue.
  • Keeping in view the interests of small traders, my Government has launched a New Pension Scheme for them. ‘National Traders Welfare Board’ will be constituted shortly, and ‘National Retail Trade Policy’ will be formulated to promote retail business. Accident insurance of up to Rs. 10 lakh will also be provided to all traders registered under GST.
  • MSME sector provides a strong foundation to the country’s economy, and plays a critical role in employment generation. Several steps have been taken to ensure smooth cash flow to enterprises run by small entrepreneurs. In order to ensure that entrepreneurs associated with MSME sector do not face any problem in accessing credit, the credit guarantee coverage is being enhanced to Rs. 1 lakh crore.
  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code’ is among the biggest and most impactful economic reforms undertaken in the country. With the coming into force of this Code, banks and other financial institutions have been able to settle directly or indirectly an amount of more than Rs. 3 lakh 50 thousand crore. This Code has also curbed the tendency of wilfully defaulting on loans taken from banks and other financial institutions.
  • Under the ‘Direct Benefit Transfer’, funds from more than 400 schemes are being directly credited into the accounts of beneficiaries. During the last five years, Rs. 7 lakh 30 thousand crore have been transferred through DBT. So far, not only has DBT prevented Rs. 1 lakh 41 thousand crore from falling into wrong hands, but it has also enabled deletion of names of about 8 crore ineligible beneficiaries. DBT will be further expanded in the coming days. I would urge the State Governments to use DBT in more and more schemes.
  • Infrastructure will play an important role in ushering in a prosperous India. My Government’s continuous endeavour has been to build infrastructure in an eco-friendly manner. Along with concrete, greenery has been made an integral part of the highway and expressway projects. For supply of electricity, optimal utilisation of solar energy is being stressed. Household and industrial wastes are also being used in road construction.
  • In the 21stcentury economy, the pace and spread of urbanization will continue to increase. Development of urban infrastructure in cities and suburbs will pave the way for economic progress and enhance employment opportunities. My Government is tirelessly working for a modern India, by providing world-class infrastructure and public amenities in villages as well as cities. Special emphasis is being accorded to improving connectivity in the North-East, hilly and tribal areas. In addition to increasing the ease of living of citizens in the North-East; tourism, agriculture and other allied sectors will also benefit from better connectivity. Effective steps are being taken to expand organic farming in the North-East.
  • Under the ‘Bharatmala Project’, construction or upgradation of about 35,000 kilometers of National Highways is to be undertaken by 2022.In addition, under the ‘Sagarmala Project’, a network of good quality roads is being constructed in coastal areas and areas adjoining ports.
  • Along with the highways, Government is also working extensively in the area of Railways, Airways and Inland Waterways. Under the ‘UDAN Scheme’, air connectivity to smaller towns is being expanded rapidly.

Campaign Against Black Money

  • During the last two years, 4 lakh 25 thousand Company Directors have been disqualified and the registration of 3 lakh 50 thousand suspicious companies has been revoked.
  • ‘Fugitive and Economic Offenders Act’ has proved effective in controlling fugitive economic offenders. Now we are receiving information in this regard from 146 countries, including Switzerland. Of these, we have concluded agreements with 80 countries for automatic exchange of information. We are now receiving information about all those who have stashed black money abroad.
  • The impact of ‘Real Estate Regulation Act’ or RERA is clearly visible in curbing black money transactions in real estate sector and protecting the interests of the customers; providing huge relief to the middle class families.
Published on June 20, 2019
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