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Home Kashmir Kashmir elections befitting reply to forces of unrest: Prez Murmu

Kashmir elections befitting reply to forces of unrest: Prez Murmu

New Delhi: President Droupadi Murmu on Thursday highlighted the high voter turnout in Jammu and Kashmir in the Lok Sabha elections and said Kashmir has given a befitting reply to the enemies of India by breaking polling records of many decades.
Addressing a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament after the constitution of the 18th Lok Sabha, Murmu also said the Constitution has fully come into force in Jammu and Kashmir where things were different earlier due to Article 370.
Article 370, which accorded a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was abrogated by the Centre on August 5, 2019, and the erstwhile state was divided into two union territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
“A very heartening aspect of this election emerged from Jammu and Kashmir.
The Kashmir Valley broke all records of voter turnout of many decades. In the last four decades, we had witnessed low voter turnout amidst shutdowns and strikes in Kashmir.
“Enemies of India continued to spread false propaganda at global fora, projecting it as the opinion of Jammu and Kashmir. But this time, the Kashmir Valley has given a befitting reply to every such element within the country and outside,” the President said.
According to the Election Commission, the three seats in the Kashmir Valley — Srinagar (38.49 per cent), Baramulla (59.1 per cent) and Anantnag-Rajouri (53 per cent) — recorded the highest voter turnout “in many decades” in the recent Lok Sabha elections.
The President stressed the government’s unwavering faith in the Constitution and efforts to make it a part of “public consciousness”, while slamming the Emergency as the “biggest and darkest chapter of direct attack” on the Constitution.
In her first address to a joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha after Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his third term, she described the poll result as an endorsement of his government’s policies while ruing attempts to hurt people’s faith in electoral process, including EVMs- an apparent swipe at opposition parties. It is like cutting the very branch on which “we all are sitting”, she said.
Amid cancellation and deferment of some competitive exams due to suspicion of paper leaks, which have drawn protests from students and the opposition’s attack on the government, Murmu said her government is committed to a fair probe and ensuring punishment to culprits.
She said, “My government is working towards major reforms in examination related bodies. This process requires complete transparency and probity.”
In her 50-minute address, the President highlighted the government’s measures in a range of sectors, from economy, defence and farming to the empowerment of different sections of society, and laid down its priorities in its third term, amid sporadic protests from opposition benches when she referred to issues such as paper leaks and matters related to the North East region.
Though she touched upon some of the things promised in the BJP’s manifesto like bullet trains and health insurance for senior citizens, there was no mention of a few of the major highlights of the party’s promises such as the Uniform Civil Code and one-nation-one-election.
The President’s speech to Parliament is essentially a government-approved document which outlines its agenda.
Modi said on X that her address to both Houses of Parliament was comprehensive and presented a roadmap of progress and good governance. “It covered the strides India has been making and also the potential that lies ahead. Her address also mentioned some of the major challenges we have to collectively overcome to ensure a qualitative change in the lives of our citizens.”
Her address kept the heat on the Congress, which is buoyed by its best tally in the last three polls, over the issue of Emergency imposed by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi. Its imposition on June 25, 1975 was the biggest and darkest chapter of direct attack on the Constitution, Murmu said.
“My government does not consider the Constitution of India as just a medium of governance; rather we are making efforts to ensure that our Constitution becomes a part of public consciousness,” she added.
The opposition INDIA bloc had made the alleged threat to Constitution from the ruling BJP as the centrepiece of its campaign, an issue which found some traction as it lost majority even though the National Democratic Alliance led by it comfortably passed the halfway mark.
India’s first tribal President asserted that people have elected a stable government with clear majority, consecutively for the third term, noting that it has happened after six decades. “People of India have full faith that only my government can fulfil their aspirations. It is a mandate that the work of making India a developed nation continues uninterrupted,” she said.
In an apparent message to opposition parties, who are numerically much stronger than the previous two Lok Sabha, she pitched for healthy deliberations, saying opposition to policies and obstruction of parliamentary functioning are two different things.
Lauding the Election Commission for the successful conduct of the polls, Murmu cautioned against attempts to undermine the credibility of India’s democracy and electoral process.
She added, “The EVMs have passed every test, from the Supreme Court to the people’s court, in the last few decades.”
Murmu said the upcoming budget, expected to be presented in the last week of July, will be an effective document of the government’s far-reaching policies and futuristic vision.
Along with major economic and social decisions, many historic steps will also be seen in this budget, she said, adding that the pace of reforms will be accelerated in tune with the aspirations of people of India for rapid development.
Emphasising that the government believes in the true spirit of competitive cooperative federalism, she said it believes that the country’s development lies in the states’ development.
The President said adversarial mindset and narrow selfishness have greatly undermined the basic spirit of democracy, affecting the parliamentary system and the country’s development journey.
During the phase of unstable governments lasting several decades, many governments, even if willing, were neither able to bring reforms nor take critical decisions, but people changed this situation by their decisive mandate in 2014, she asserted.
She said, “Many such reforms have taken place in the last 10 years which are greatly benefitting the nation Thursday. Even when these reforms were being taken up, they were opposed and attempts were made to spread negativity.”
Outlining some of her concerns, she asked lawmakers to introspect on the issues flagged by her and offer concrete and constructive solutions. In this era of communication revolution, disruptive forces in and outside the country are conspiring to weaken democracy and create fissures in the society, she said.
Muurm said that the first budget of the newly-formed NDA government next month will take “many historic steps” as well as accelerate the pace of economic reforms and lay a roadmap for ‘far-reaching policies’ and ‘futuristic vision’ of the government to make India the world’s third largest economy.
A stable government with clear majority is “a mandate that the work of making India a developed nation continues uninterrupted and India attains its goals”, she said.
The new government under Modi is to present a full Budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 (April 2024 to March 2025) next month which is likely to lay down priorities in matters of taxation and policy as well as reform agenda for the near term.
“This budget will be an effective document of the government’s far-reaching policies and futuristic vision,” she said.
“Along with major economic and social decisions, many historic steps will also be seen in this budget,” she said without elaborating.
“The pace of reforms will be further accelerated in tune with the aspirations of people of India for rapid development,” she said.
With the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) retaining power for a third consecutive term, analysts are expecting broad policy continuity, with the government continuing to prioritise infrastructure capex, improvements to the business environment, and gradual fiscal consolidation.
The President said the resolve to ‘reform, perform and transform’ has made India the fastest growing economy in the world and the nation has risen to become the 5th largest economy from being the 11th ranked economy.
From 2021 to 2024, India has grown at an average rate of 8 per cent annually.
“India has achieved this growth amidst the global pandemic and despite ongoing conflicts in different parts of the world. This has been made possible due to reforms and major decisions undertaken in the national interest in the last 10 years,” she said, adding India alone is contributing 15 per cent of the global growth.
Now, the government is striving to make India the 3rd largest economy in the world, she said. “Achieving this goal will also strengthen the foundation of a developed India.”
“During the phase of unstable governments in the country that lasted several decades, many governments, even if willing, were neither able to bring reforms nor take critical decisions. The people of India have now changed this situation by their decisive mandate.
“Many such reforms have taken place in the last 10 years, which are greatly benefiting the nation Thursday. Even when these reforms were being taken up, they were opposed and attempts were made to spread negativity. But all these reforms have stood the test of time,” she said.
Highlighting the reforms, she said to save India’s banking sector from collapsing, the government brought banking reforms and made laws like Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code which have made the country’s banking sector one of the strongest banking sectors in the world.
“Our public sector banks are robust and profitable Thursday. Profits of public sector banks have crossed Rs 1.4 lakh crore in 2023-24, which is 35 per cent higher than last year. The strength of our banks enables them to expand their credit base and contribute to the economic development of the nation. The NPAs of public sector banks are also continuously decreasing,” she said.
While SBI is earning record profits and LIC is stronger than ever, GST collections for the first time ever crossed Rs 2 lakh crore in April.
Giving sneak purview to priorities of the government, Murmu said the government is giving equal importance to all the three pillars of the economy — manufacturing, services and agriculture.
Production-linked incentive (PLI) schemes and ease of doing business have contributed to increasing investments and employment opportunities on a large scale.
“Along with the traditional sectors, sunrise sectors are also being promoted in mission mode. Be it semiconductor or solar, be it electric vehicles or electronic goods, be it green hydrogen or batteries, be it aircraft carriers or fighter Jets, India is expanding in all these sectors,” she said.
The government is also making continuous efforts to reduce the cost of logistics. It is also strengthening the services sector.
Simultaneously, investments in green industries are being increased, leading to an increase in ‘green jobs’.
Stating that India is emerging as a leader in every sector from IT to tourism and from health to wellness, she said this this is creating a large number of new opportunities for employment and self-employment.
The President said in the last 10 years, the government has placed great emphasis on every aspect of the rural economy. Agro-based industries, dairy and fishery-based industries are being expanded in villages. Cooperatives have been accorded priority.
“A major problem of small farmers is related to storage. Therefore, my government has commenced work on a scheme to create the world’s largest storage capacity in the cooperative sector,” she said.
Under PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi, more than Rs 3,20,000 crore have been disbursed to farmers.
Policies, she said, were focused on making India more self-reliant and increasing farmers’ income through increased exports.
The President said the government believes that there should be healthy competition among the states to attract investors from all over the world.
“This is the true spirit of competitive cooperative federalism,” she said. “We will continue to move ahead with the belief that the development of the country lies in the development of the states.”
Outlining the policy push in the last decade, Murmu said focus on infrastructure development has seen construction of more than 3,80,000 kilometres of village roads under the PM Gram Sadak Yojana while also expanding the network of National Highways and Expressways in the country.
“The pace of construction of National Highways has more than doubled,” she said.
While work on the High-Speed Rail Ecosystem between Ahmedabad and Mumbai (popularly known as Bullet Train) is also progressing at a rapid pace, the government has decided to conduct feasibility studies for bullet train corridors in the north, south and east of the country, she said, adding work on inland waterways has started on such a large scale.

 

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