New Delhi: Praising the Election of India (ECI) for a successful conduct of the nine-phased 2014 general elections, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said this year’s polls should be seen as an election of hope insofar as the aspirations of the people of the country were concerned.

Addressing a joint session of Parliament, Mukherjee said that for the first time in 30 years, a political party had secured a clear majority verdict in its favour.

He also congratulated eight-time Member of Parliament Sumitra Mahajan on becoming the second woman Speaker of the Lok Sabha after Meira Kumar.

He said that to have two consecutive women as speakers of the Lower House of Parliament is a historic achievement in itself.

He said the citizens of India have voted for a strong and unified India, and added, “I applaud the wisdom of the citizens.”

Mukherjee said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government, which is led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, would work to fulfill the aspirations of 125 crore Indians.”

“I applaud the wisdom of my fellow citizens who voted for stability… they have voted for a united, strong and modern India… Ek Bhaear, Shrestha Bharat
My government is committed to nurturing the right environment for actualising this mandate.

It can be achieved only though your active participation.

My government will function on the mantra of “minimum government, maximum governance,” said Mukherjee.

“The government will focus on those who need basic amenities. Curbing of inflation, including food inflation, will be a top priority of my government. The greatest challenge is to end the curse of poverty. High priority will be given to water security and irrigation. My government is dedicated to helping the poor and to the task of removing or reducing poverty, as it has no religion,” said Mukherjee.

“My government commits itself to the role of poverty elimination. It will take necessary steps to ensure security to citizens in all its entirety. My government will take steps to prevent hoarding and black marketing,” the president said.

My government will launch a national sports search system. Sports will be made an integral part of school curriculum. … My government will launch national sports talent recognition programme,” Mukherjee added.

He also informed that the government is in the process of preparing a contingency plan to counter the possibility of a poor monsoon, and added that there would also be a new healthcare policy in place soon.

“Government is aware of a sub-normal monsoon this year and is prepared with contingency plans. My government is committed to improving the quality of life in villages by empowering people through a strong Panchayati Raj system. Government will adopt a national land use policy. Each drop of water is precious… my government is committed to giving high priority for water security. By harvesting rain water, we will nurture water conservation and ground water recharge,” President Mukherjee said.

Honorable members,  India is world’s oldest civilization. Today, it is also a country with the large population of youth… we must nurture them with incentives and right skill set to reap dividends. We will set up IITs and IIMs in every state. My government will strive to break barriers between formal education and skill development. Children and youth of the country need avenues for recreation. A madrasa modernisation programme will also be initiated as will a mass campaign for saving the girl child, enabling her education,” he said.

The government will strive to end the rural-urban divide and is committed to improve the life in villages. It will also plan to set up IITs and IIMs in every state,” the president said.

Mukherjee also said the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi plans to make minorities equal partners in India’s progress, and is also committed to ensuring 33 percent reservation of seats in parliament for women.

He also said the government is committed to the task of ensuring zero tolerance of violence against women.

Mukherjee also said that the government is committed to providing a clean and efficient administration, and would take steps to install a Lokpal to curb corruption.

He also said that government systems, processes will be re-visited to make them citizen-friendly and corruption-free.

My government is committed to rid the country of the scourge of corruption and the menace of black money. Keeping in mind that the “justice delayed is justice denied”, government will look at multi-pronged approach to tackle the high pendency of cases in the country… it will look at filling up vacancies in the judiciary… will give emphasis to alternate methods of dispute resolution,” he added.

Earlier, President Mukherjee was given a guard of honour by the President’s Bodyguard (PBG) in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan before being escorted by them to Parliament at around 10.45 a.m. this morning.

On his arrival at Parliament, the President was received by Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs M. Venkaiah Naidu. Prime Minister Narendra Modi accompanied the President into the Central of Parliament. He was greeted with a thundering applause by the new members of the 16th Lok Sabha before going up to the podium to begin his address.

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