Addressing a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament on the first day of the Budget session, President Ram Nath Kovind said that the Narendra Modi government is committed to countering all forces challenging Indias sovereignty and unity and taking firm action against those inciting violence in the country. President also termed the Delhi violence and Red Fort flag incident unfortunate. Here is the full text of President Ram Nath Kovinds speech to the joint session of Parliament: Honourable Members, 1. It is the beginning of a new year and a new decade. We will also be entering the 75th All the Members of Parliament present here today embody the conviction held by every Indian that the toughest of challenges will deter neither us nor India. 2. This solidarity and Pujya Bapu Echoing the same spirit, Assam Kesari, Ambikagiri Raichaudhuri the nationalist poet, had said In one single consciousness, one thought, one devotion, one inspiration, let us unite; let us unite. 3. Our country has faced every crisis with fortitude, be it the Coronavirus pandemic, floods, earthquakes or major cyclones in several States, locust attack or the bird flu. The recent past also saw an unprecedented escalation in tension along the border. The nation stood together, battled crises on multiple fronts and surmounted every challenge. During this period, we all have also witnessed the unparalleled courage, endurance, discipline and spirit of service of our countrymen. 4. Our beloved former President and my predecessor Shri Pranab Mukherjee too passed away during the pandemic. The untimely demise of six Members of Parliament was also due to the coronavirus. I pay my heartfelt tribute to all of them. Honourable Members, 5. During the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected each individual and every country in the world, India has emerged on the global stage with renewed vigor. It gives me satisfaction that due to timely and calibrated decisions taken by my Government, we were able to save lives of lakhs of our countrymen. Today, there is a rapid decline in the number of new cases of coronavirus and at the same time there is a significant increase in the number of recoveries. Honourable Members, 6. Besides announcing a record economic package for reviving the economy, my Government took care to ensure that no poor person went hungry. 7. The Government was also mindful of the plight of migrant labourers, workers and those who were away from their homes. Besides providing them with the facility of 8. As a result of this Abhiyan, 50 crore mandays of employment were generated. The Government also launchedSVANidhi Further, an amount of approximately Rs 31,000 crore was directly transferred to the Jan Dhan accounts of poor women. During this period, more than 14 crore gas cylinders were given free of cost throughout the country to poor women beneficiaries, under theUjjwala scheme. 9. The collaboration between the Central and the State Governments has not only strengthened democracy but also enhanced the prestige of the Constitution. Honourable Members, 10. Even the wind that carries away cotton and straw will not take a person who begs, lest he starts demanding something from wind itself. In this way, everyone tries to avoid a beggar. This implies that in order to enhance our relevance or importance, we must minimise our dependence on others and become self-reliant. 11. Under the circumstances that emerged during the coronavirus pandemic, when each country was prioritizing their own requirements, we were reminded of the significance of developing a self-reliant India. 12. It is a matter of immense pride that India is conducting the world Both the vaccines rolled out under this programme are produced indigenously. By making lakhs of corona vaccine doses available to several countries India has fulfilled its obligation towards humanity in these times of difficulty. The accolades being showered on India globally for this work along with the essence of our age-old cultural tradition of Honourable Members, 13. During these years, emphasis has been placed not only on modernizing the healthcare systems but also on prevention of diseases. Programmes such asWe have also witnessed the beneficial impact of the efforts made by my Government to promote 14. Under the5 crore poor people in the country have received free treatment of up to Rs 5 lakh. As a result, the poor have been able to save over Rs 30,000 crore. Today, benefits of Ayushman Bharat Yojana can be availed at more than 24,000 hospitals across the country. Similarly, under the Lakhs of patients are purchasing medicines from these Kendras daily and due to their reasonable prices, are able to save Rs 3600 crore annually. Honourable Members, 15. In 2014, there were only 387 medical colleges, but today there are 562 medical colleges in the country. In the last 6 years, there has been an increase of over 50,000 seats at the under-graduate and post graduate levels in medical education. Under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana, the Government has also sanctioned 22 new AIIMS. 16. The decades Honourable Members, 17. 18. With this idea, the Government has, over the last 6 years, attempted to bring positive transformation in the In pursuance of these efforts, my Government decided to implement the recommendations of the5 times of the cost of production. Today my Government is not only purchasing record quantities at the MSP, but is also increasing the number of procurement centres. 19. Following the mantra of In 2013-14, only 42 lakh hectares of land was under micro-irrigation whereas today, more than 56 lakh hectares of land has been brought under micro-irrigation. 20. Today, the food grain availability in the country is at a record high. In 2008-09, the food grain production in the country was 234 million tonnes, whereas in 2019-20, the production has increased to 296 million tonnes. During the same period, the production of fruits and vegetables has also increased from 215 million tonnes to 320 million tonnes. I congratulate the farmers of the country for these achievements. Honourable Members, 21. More than 80% of the farmers in the country numbering over 10 crore fall under this category. 22. In order to provide expenditure support to these farmers, almost Rs 1,13,000 crore have been directly transferred to their bank accounts under Under this scheme in the last 5 years, about Rs 90,000 crore has been paid as compensation to the farmers against a premium of Rs 17,000 crore. 23. This has ensured access of small farmers to better technology, additional credit, post-harvesting processing and marketing facilities and insurance coverage during natural calamities, on the same footing as the rich farmers. This has also provided an alternative to farmers for securing remunerative prices for their produce and generating greater savings. Honourable Members, 24. The benefits of these three important farm reforms, have started reaching more than 10 crore small farmers instantly. Appreciating the advantages that these reforms would bring to the small farmers, several political parties too had, from time to time, expressed their support. The discussions over these farm reforms in every part of the country for over 2 decades and the demand for these reforms at different fora were also reflected during the deliberations in the House. 25. My Government respects the decision of the Apex Court and shall abide by it. My Government holds in high esteem the values of democracy and sanctity of the Constitution. It is continuously making efforts to dispel the misunderstanding created in the context of these laws. My Government has always respected freedom of expression and holding of peaceful agitations in a democratic set up. However, the recent acts of dishonouring the National Flag and showing disrespect to the auspicious occasion of the Republic Day are unfortunate. While the Constitution gives us the right to freedom of expression it is also expected that we abide by the laws and rules with equal sincerity. 26. Rather, through these agricultural reforms, the Government has provided new facilities to the farmers and has empowered them. Honourable Members, 27.The Agriculture Infrastructure Fund 28. This rail is like a mobile cold storage. So far, over 100 Honourable Members, 29. As a result, the livestock of the country has been increasing at an annual rate of 8.2 % over the last 5 years. The Government has also set up the 30. Efforts have been undertaken to increase the income of fishermen through the In this sector, an investment of about Rs 20,000 crore has been planned over the next 5 years. 31. 20 lakh solar pumps are being provided to farmers under the Government is also encouraging production of ethanol from sugarcane, maize and paddy. Due to the affirmative policies of the Government, over the past 6 years, the annual ethanol production has increased from 38 crore litres to 190 crore litres. The production is expected to reach 320 crore litres this year. Ethanol is emerging as a major source for augmenting the income of farmers. Honourable Members, 32.Carrying this idea forward, my Government has been working relentlessly for multi-faceted development of villages. Raising the standard of living of the villagers is a priority for my Government. This is best exemplified by the 2 crore houses built since 2014 for the poor families living in villages. The implementation of 33.With ownership rights, the villagers can now easily avail bank loans and housing loans against the collateral of their properties and economic activities are expected to gain momentum in the rural areas. Small entrepreneurs, people associated with cottage industries and small farmers would be especially benefitted under the scheme. Honourable Members, 34. On 8thNovember 1945, during a conference in Cuttack, he had said Water being the wealth of the people and its distribution being uncertain, the correct approach is not to complain against nature but to conserve water 35. Besides delivering water to every household(Har Ghar Jal), work on water conservation is also progressing at a rapid pace. I am happy to say that under this scheme, 3 crore families have been connected with piped water supply so far. Under this scheme, water connection is being provided on priority to brothers and sisters belonging to the Scheduled Castes Scheduled Tribes as well as other deprived sections of the society. Honourable Members, 36. Under the42 lakh km of road network has been completed in rural areas of the country. In the third phase of this scheme, 1.25 lakh km roads connecting the settlements, schools, markets and hospitals in rural areas will also be upgraded. Along with roads, internet connectivity is equally important in the rural areas. After ensuring electrification of every village, my Government is implementing a mission to connect over 6 lakh villages of the country through optical fibre. Honourable Members, 37. These small scale industries have immense potential of making India self-reliant. This sector accounts for about 50% of India Several steps have been taken to enhance the role of MSMEs in the mission aimed at developing an Atmanirbhar Bharat. 38. Initiatives such as Besides ushering in greater transparency, the GeM portal has facilitated increased participation of the MSMEs even in far flung and remote areas in Government procurement. 39. Under schemes like Under these schemes, women crafts persons comprise more than half of the beneficiaries. These crafts persons are being connected to the global market through 40. My Government has taken several steps to provide new opportunities for self-employment to women. Under the 41. These women groups have been provided bank loans worth Rs 3,40,000 crore in the last 6 years. 42. My Government is relentlessly working towards protecting the health of infants and pregnant women through various initiatives like As a result of this, the Maternal Mortality Rate has declined from 130 per lakh in 2014 to 113. The Under 5 Child Mortality Rate has also reduced to 36 for the first time, which is less than the world average rate of 39. 43. My Government has taken several decisions in this direction, such as appointing women in the Fighter stream of the Indian Air Force and the Military Police for the first time, as well as allowing women to work in underground and open cast mines during the night shift. Keeping in mind the safety of the women, work on several initiatives such as setting up Honourable Members, 44. For the first time students have been given the freedom to opt for the subjects of their choice under the National Education Policy. Students have also been provided the option of changing their subjects or streams in the middle of a course. 45. Ever sensitive towards safeguarding the interests of the students, my Government has also successfully conducted the JEE and NEET examinations in order to prevent the loss of an academic year. Honourable Members, 46. More than 3 crore 20 lakh such students are benefitting from various scholarship schemes of the Government. These include students belonging to the scheduled castes, backward classes, forest-dwellers and tribal community and minority communities. It is the endeavour of the Government to ensure that maximum number of eligible and needy students are able to avail the benefit of the scholarships. Along with this, the Central Governments share in the funding of post matric scholarship scheme for scheduled castes students is also being enhanced. Similarly, the network of Ekalavya Model Residential Schools is being expanded to cover every tribal dominated block to facilitate the education of tribal students. So far, more than 550 such schools have been sanctioned. 47. The youth have benefited greatly from discontinuation of interviews for recruitment to Group C and Group D posts. By setting up the Honourable Members, 48. To alleviate the hardships faced by Divyangjans, thousands of buildings, public transport buses and railways have been made accessible. About 700 websites have also been made accessible for Divyanjans. Similarly, to provide better facilities and equal opportunities to transgenders, the A Development and Welfare Board has also been set up for the Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-nomadic communities. 49. The tribal brothers and sisters have benefitted greatly from this initiative. Works related to marketing of forest products and setting up of small businesses dependent on forest produce, which are the mainstay of livelihood for the tribal community, are also in progress. As a result of these efforts, an additional amount of Rs 600 crore has accrued to the tribal families. Government has increased the MSP on 46 types of forest produce by up to 90 per cent. Honourable Members, 50. 51. In December 2020, digital transactions of more than Rs 4,00,000 crore have been done through UPI. Today, more than 200 banks are linked to the UPI system. Similarly, Digilocker is being used as a paperless platform for more than 400 crore digital documents. Through the More than three and a half lakhCommon Service Centres In the same vein, 52. Because of the JAM Trinity, Rs 1,80,000 crore have been saved from falling into wrong hands. 53. 54. Thousands of fishermen are now benefitting from it. New standards have been set in the form of These indigenous solutions will help in developing Indian products as per international standards. 55. In this direction, through theImplementation of Honourable Members, 56. During the tenure of previous Governments and in the Houses of Parliament, it has been repeatedly mentioned, that the existing building is proving to be insufficient to meet our present day requirements. Efforts had been made by previous governments also for a new Parliament building. It is a happy coincidence that the construction of a new Parliament House has commenced as we are approaching the 75th year of our independence. With the construction of the new Parliament building, every member will get better facilities to enable them to effectively discharge their responsibilities. Honourable Members, 57. Keeping in mind the aspirations of the people, my Government has been taking speedy decisions and is implementing long awaited reforms in every sector of the economy. 58. A GIS based database of industrial zones has been created to enable delivery of essential services to industries. Information pertaining to more than 5 lakh hectares of industrial land is available through this database. 59. 29 Central labour laws have been amalgamated into States have also displayed initiative in bringing about these labour reforms. These reforms will result in expansion in the scope of labour welfare, timely payment of wages to labourers and generation of new employment opportunities. The new labour codes also ensure enhanced and a more equitable participation of the female work force. 60. For this, the banking system in the country is being strengthened. Merger of small banks to create large and strong banks is also a step in this direction. 61.5 lakh crore is being implemented in 10 manufacturing sectors. Its impact is already visible in manufacturing of electronic goods as well as other products. As a result of this initiative, many large national and international companies have started their operations in India. 62. Today, Efforts are being made to inculcate an emotional attachment for goods manufactured in India while at the same time ensuring that they are of high quality. 63. In this regard, healthy competition amongst States is being encouraged. It is matter of immense pleasure that States too are appreciating the importance of improving the ranking and are participating in this wholeheartedly. 64. This is evident from several indicators. Even in these difficult times, India has emerged as an attractive destination for foreign investors. Between April and August, 2020, a record foreign direct investment of 36 billion dollars has been made in India. Honourable Members, 65. Rapid execution of major infrastructure projects and their completion, even during the coronavirus pandemic, demonstrates our resolve. Be it the 66. Along with promoting industrialisation in Eastern India, this freight corridor will also reduce unnecessary delays during transit. 67. Along with this, work on 6 new expressways and 18 new access controlled corridors under the 68. Embodying the pride of having the world Honourable Members, 69. A few days back, The construction of This pipeline will go up to West Bengal and will make gas available to various industries, especially the fertilizer plants of Eastern India. Similarly, work on theTuticorin-Ramnathpuram Gas Pipeline, Honourable Members, 70. More than 1 crore houses had been sanctioned for the poor in cities, of which about 40 lakh houses have already been constructed. A few days back, work on construction of houses based on modern technology has also been started in six cities of the country. A scheme has also been initiated for providing better and affordable rental housing facilities for the laborers working in cities. 71. Today, metro rail service has been rolled out in 27 cities. Only a few days back, driverless metro train was also operationalized on one of the routes of Delhi Metro. Public transport system in cities is being improved by building Regional Rapid Transit System. Expansion of common mobility card will facilitate travel in various cities across the country. Honourable Members, 72. A policy for rapid development of North East while preserving its unique geographical, cultural and linguistic characteristics and its social identity is being implemented. For Assam and North Eastern states, Making this lifeline the basis for economic activity, work on operationalizing several National Waterways is in progress. This will benefit all sections of people in the North East, including farmers, youth and entrepreneurs. By developing the Integrated National Waterways under the 73. Today extremism in North East is on the wane and there is a sharp decline in the number of violent incidents. The youth who went astray on the path of violence are now returning to the mainstream of development and nation building. 74. Similarly, a historic After the accord, this time the elections to the Bodo Territorial Council have also been held successfully. Honourable Members, 75. While on the one hand, development is being promoted in violence affected areas, on the other hand firm action is being taken against the forces inciting violence. As a result of this, the number of naxal-violence related incidents have declined and the naxal-affected area is shrinking. 76. Only a few weeks back, elections to District Councils in Jammu and Kashmir were held successfully for the first time after Independence. Large scale participation of voters has shown that Jammu and Kashmir is forging ahead towards a new democratic future at a rapid pace. Grant of new entitlements have empowered the people of the region. After the implementation of A bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal has also been established in Jammu. After becoming a Union Territory, elections to the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Council have been held successfully a few months back. Now the people of Ladakh are themselves taking decisions related to the development of their region expeditiously. Honourable Members, 77. Efforts were made to disrupt the peace at LAC in utter disregard of bilateral relations and agreements. However, our security forces not only responded to these machinations with promptitude, force and courage, but also foiled all attempts to change the status quo at the border. The restraint, valor and courage displayed by our jawans, deserve utmost praise. In June 2020, twenty of our jawans made the supreme sacrifice and laid down their lives defending the country at Galwan Valley. Every citizen is deeply indebted to these martyrs. 78. Additional forces have also been deployed at the LAC to protect the sovereignty of India. Honourable Members, 79. 80. A range of modern armaments are being procured to enhance the capabilities of IndiaThere is also a thrust on achieving self-reliance in the defence sector. Only a few days back, the Government has placed an order with HAL for procurement of 83 indigenous fighter aircraft Imports of more than 100 items linked to defence have been prohibited in order to promote Similarly, several advanced weapons including supersonic torpedoes, quick reaction missiles, tanks and indigenous rifles are being manufactured in India. India is now also rapidly increasing its share in the exports of defence equipments. Honourable Members, 81. We are proud that today ISRO space scientists are working on important missions such as In the field of nuclear energy also, the country is moving rapidly towards achieving self-reliance. A few months back, countrys first indigenous pressurized heavy water reactor has been successfully tested at Kakrapar. Honourable Members, 82. With this resolve, efforts are being made to achieve the goal of reduction in the Emissions Intensity of GDP by 33 to 35 per cent, by the year 2030 as compared to the year 2005. India is among the frontline nations in implementing the Paris Agreement. 83.In the last six years, India Today, almost one-fourth of the total energy production in the country is coming from renewable energy sources. Honourable Members, 84. Living up to the spirit of India is committed to ensuring the availability of vaccine at the global level. It is a matter of pride for the country that In addition to evacuating about 50 lakh Indians from various parts of the world, India has also enabled safe passage for more than 1 lakh foreign nationals to their respective countries. 85. During this period, India has further bolstered international cooperation by holding a large number of apex summits, multilateral events and official meetings. For the eighth time, this year India has joined the Security Council as a non-permanent member by garnering historic international support. India has also assumed the presidency of BRICS for 2021. Honourable Members, 86. The year 2021 is significant for us for this reason also. A few days back, the country observed the birth of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on 23 January as Parakram Diwas. This year we are celebrating the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji. To celebrate this anniversary in a befitting manner, my Government has constituted a High Level Committee. We will also celebrate our venerable Along with these commemorations, the Honourable Members, 87. In the past few years, India has accomplished many tasks which were once considered extremely difficult to achieve. – After abrogation of provisions of – – Country has started benefitting from the creation of a post of – Womens participation in Armed Forces is increasing. – Construction of a grand – India has registered a record improvement in the Now, special emphasis is being laid on reducing – India has moved up from 65 to 34 in the – – Once we had only two factories manufacturing mobiles, whereas today, – Today, lakhs of middle class citizens are benefiting from Real Estate Regulatory Authority established under the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act. – During this period, not only were new laws passed, but more than 1500 archaic and irrelevant laws were also repealed. 88. My Government has demonstrated that when the goals set are high and the intent is clear, transformation can be brought about.The number of persons whose lives have been touched by my Government in these years, is unprecedented: – more than 2.5 crore free electricity connections were given so that every poor person – more than 36 crore LED bulbs were distributed at affordable rates to reduce the electricity bill of poor and middle class families. – more than 21 crore poor were linked to5 crore people were insured under – in order to ensure that infants from poor families do not get affected by serious illnesses, the Government not only increased the scope of the vaccination programme by including more diseases, but also took the vaccination campaign to even remote tribal areas which had hitherto not been covered. – more than 3.5 crore children were vaccinated under – to safeguard the entitlement for ration of the poor, 100 per cent digitisation of ration cards was completed and 90 per cent ration cards have been linked to Aadhaar. – more than 8 crore gas connections were given free of cost under – more than 10 crore toilets were built under – – more than 41 crore More than half of these accounts belong to our sisters and daughters from poor families. Honourable Members, 89. Each of these number represents a life story. Several members of this Parliament have spent a large part of their lives in similar difficult circumstances. The extent to which we can alleviate the suffering, pain and anxiety of our poor brethren and provide them basic amenities, empower them, increase their self-esteem, will help in imparting meaning to our presence in this Parliament. 90. Honourable Members, 91. He said : Chol Re Chol Shobe Bharato Shantan, Matribhumi Kore Aohan, Birodarpe, Paurush Garbe, Shadh Re Shadh Shobe, Deshero Kalyan That is, Motherland is beckoning all the children of Bharat, to keep moving forward together; to move ahead with self-esteem and confidence of courage and aspire for the welfare of the nation. Come, Let all citizens move forward together. Let us fulfil our duty and contribute to nation building, Come, let us make I convey my best wishes to all of you. Jai Hind.