Centuries-old desire of Ram temple now a reality: President Murmu

She praised the Modi government for transforming India from a "fragile five" to a "top five" economy.

New Delhi: President Droupadi Murmu on Wednesday said the centuries-old desire to build the Ram temple in Ayodhya has been fulfilled, as she lauded the work done by the Modi government in the last 10 years which included completing several long-pending projects.

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The President arrived in a buggy at the Parliament House to deliver her address to the joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. She entered the House with the ‘sengol’ being carried in front of her.

President Droupadi Murmu arrives at the Parliament House complex on the first day of the Budget session, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024. (PTI Photo/Kamal Kishore)

Murmu said a country can progress at a fast pace only when it defeats the challenges of the past and puts maximum energy into building the future.

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“In the last ten years, the country has witnessed the completion of such projects for which the people had waited for decades. There was the desire for building the Ram Mandir for centuries and today it has become a reality,” she said, evoking thumping of desks from the treasury benches.

She said there were apprehensions over the removal of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir “but they have become history now”.

“Earlier, the country’s rate of inflation was in double digits which is now within 4%. According to the NITI Aayog, in the 10-year rule of the Central government, nearly 25 crore people have come out of poverty,” she said.

‘Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat’

Terming the new Parliament building radiates the fragrance of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat’, she said it also carries the ‘consciousness of India’s civilisation and culture.’

She underlined that last year saw the closure of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, as well as the moments of achievements for India as two iconic sites in the country were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

“The year gone by has been full of historic achievements,” the President noted.

Achieved a lot during Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav: Murmu

The ‘Meri Maati Mera Desh’ campaign was launched and ‘Amrit Kalash’ was brought to New Delhi carrying soil from different parts of the country, Murmu said.

She said:

  1. More than two lakh ‘Shilaphalakams’ (plaques) were established.
  2. Over three crore people took the ‘Panch Pran’ pledge.
  3. About 70,000 Amrit Sarovars were built and more than two lakh Amrit Vatikas were created.
  4. The statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was installed while a museum dedicated to all prime ministers was opened in New Delhi.
  5. In 2023, Santiniketan and Hoysala temples earned the UNESCO World Heritage Site tags.
  6. Santiniketan, the famed place in West Bengal where poet Rabindranath Tagore built Visva-Bharati over a century ago, received the coveted tag in September 2023.
  7. ‘Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysala’, the Hoysala temples of Belur, Halebid and Somnathapura in Karnataka, were also inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  8. Martyrdom of sahibzade of the Sikh guru Guru Gobind Singh Ji is commemorated as Veer Bal Diwas.
  9. PM Modi announced the Sikh guru Prakash Purab of Guru Gobind Singh Ji will be observed as ‘Veer Bal Diwas’. On January 9, 2022, Modi announced the Prakash Purab of Guru Gobind Singh Ji would be observed as ‘Veer Bal Diwas’, to mark the martyrdom of the guru’s sons – Sahibzadas Baba Zorawar Singh Ji and Baba Fateh Singh Ji.
  10. Birsa Munda’s anniversary will now be celebrated as ‘Janhatiya Gaurav Diwas’, and August 14 is marked as the ‘Partition Horrors Remembrance Day‘.

From ‘fragile five’ to ‘top five’ economy

President Droupadi Murmu praised the Central Government for transforming India from a “fragile five” to a “top five” economy. She also congratulated the government for making ‘Make in India’ a global brand.

“Ten years ago, India was the 10th largest economy in the world, with a GDP of USD 1.9 trillion at current market prices. Today, it is the 5th largest with a GDP of USD 3.7 trillion (estimate 2023-24), she said, adding, “The world is appreciating the objective of ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’. Today companies from all over the world are excited about the emerging sectors in India.” she said.

President Droupadi Murmu addresses the joint sitting of Parliament on the opening day of the Budget session, in New Delhi on Wednesday (PTI Photo)

Highlighting achievements of the last 10 years, Murmu said India’s exports have increased from about USD 450 billion to more than USD 775 billion, and FDI flows have doubled.

“The number of people filing Income Tax Returns has increased from about 3.25 crore to about 8.25 crore i.e., it has more than doubled,” she said.

Murmu said a decade ago, there were just 94,000 startups, which has substantially to 1,60,000.

“In December 2017, 98 lakh people used to pay GST, today their number is 1 crore 40 lakh,” the President said.

Befitting reply to terrorism: Murmu

India’s armed forces are giving a befitting response to expansionism and terrorism, President Droupadi Murmu said in an apparent reference to the eastern Ladakh border row with China and Pakistan’s proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir.

Murmu, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces, said the tangible results of the government’s efforts to strengthen internal security are visible.

She said that India’s defence production has crossed the Rs one lakh crore mark as she highlighted the government’s efforts to boost domestic defence manufacturing.

The President also mentioned the indigenous construction of aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, the production of light combat jets Tejas, and plans to produce C-295 transport planes and modern aircraft engines in India.

Murmu also referred to the increasing role of women in the armed forces and said women are now operating fighter jets and commanding naval ships.

J&K, North east is more safe than before, says President

“There is a sense of security in Jammu and Kashmir today. The earlier deserted look of the marketplaces due to strike has been replaced by the hustle and bustle of crowded markets,” she said.

“There has also been a significant reduction in the incidents of separatism in the North East,” she added.

‘Nari Shakti everywhere – water, land and sky’

President Murmu listed the Central government’s initiative to strengthen ‘Nari Shakti’. “My government has enlarged the role of daughters everywhere — in water, land, sky and space,” she said.

The decision to grant permanent commission to women in the Armed Forces, admission of women cadets in Sainik Schools and the National Defence Academy, and the presence of women in roles such as fighter pilots and naval ship commanders further underscored the government’s dedication to breaking gender barriers, she noted.

President Droupadi Murmu addresses the joint session of Parliament on the opening day of the Budget session, in New Delhi on Wednesday (PTI Photo)

She also commended the legislative achievement of enacting the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam (women’s reservation Act) after a three-decade-long wait.

Approximately 10 crore women are involved in self-help groups, with substantial financial support through bank loans amounting to Rs 8 lakh crore and additional financial assistance of Rs 40 thousand crores.

Booming health sector under Modi govt

President Murmu hailed the strides made in the health sector stating the number of MBBS seats has doubled, while 16 new AIIMS and 315 medical colleges have been established.

She said:

  1. The number of MBBS seats has doubled in the last decade.
  2. Sixteen new AIIMS and 315 medical colleges have been established.
  3. Free medical treatment has helped citizens save nearly Rs 3.5 lakhs crore.
  4. Digital Health IDs of around 53 crore people have been created under the Ayushman Bharat Health Account.
  5. The Jan Aushadhi Kendras have helped citizens save about Rs 28,000 crore on the purchase of medicines.
  6. Prices of coronary stents, knee implants and cancer medicines have also been reduced.
  7. There have been continuous efforts to propagate the Indian traditions of Yoga, Pranayam and Ayurveda.
  8. Set up a new Ministry for the development of Ayush.

Solar energy jumped 26 times: Prez Murmu

President Droupadi Murmu said a lot of focus is being given to green energy with the renewable energy capacity doubling to 188GW and solar capacity having jumped 26 times.

This assumes significance given India’s ambitious energy transition programme of net zero by 2070 and its target of having 500GW of renewable energy by 2030. India is also aiming to have 50 per cent non-fossil fuel based power generation capacity by 2030.

President Droupadi Murmu addresses the joint sitting of Parliament on the opening day of the Budget session, in New Delhi on Wednesday 2024. Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar is also seen. (PTI Photo)

According to the Central Electricity Authority data dated December 2023, India’s wind energy capacity stood at about 45GW while large hydro (over 25MW capacity each) is 47GW. The biomass power/cogen capacity about 10GW and small hydro (upto 25MW) is around 5GW, while the waste to energy capacity stood at 583MW, she said.

Eleven new solar parks have been built, she said, adding work is in progress on nine solar parks.

Just a few days ago, oil production has started in a new block in the Bay of Bengal. This is a big achievement for the country, she stated.

President hails govt’s efforts to uplift tribals

Thousands of tribal villages have received electricity, piped water supply, and road connectivity for the first time over the last 10 years, President Droupadi Murmu said.

She commended the Central government’s dedication to uplift those who have long been excluded from the development process. “Through a special campaign, the government is extending 4G internet connectivity to numerous villages predominantly inhabited by tribals,” she said.

“For the first time, the Central government has focused on the development of the particularly vulnerable tribal groups. PM JANMAN Yojana with an outlay of around Rs 24,000 crore has been launched for these groups,” she said.

Addressing a long-standing issue affecting generations of tribal families, Murmu mentioned the launch of a national mission to combat sickle cell anaemia. To date, around one crore forty lakh people have been screened under this mission, she added.

‘Explore prospects of minerals through deep sea mining’

President Droupadi Murmu stressed the scouting for minerals through deep sea mining.

The mines ministry had last month identified some offshore blocks for granting operational rights. The quantity of important minerals on earth is limited, she said.

In August last year, the government amended the Offshore Areas Mineral (Development & Regulation) Act (OAMDR) and introduced a transparent and non-discretionary auction process as the method of allocation of operating rights in the offshore areas.

To implement the provisions of the amended Act, the ministry framed two sets of draft rules — Offshore Areas Mineral Auction Rules and Offshore Areas Existence of Mineral Resources Rules.

The main features of the draft Offshore Areas Mineral (Auction) Rules include granting of the composite license and production lease through an ascending forward online electronic auction.

JAM trinity curbed corruption from wrong hands: Murmu

President Droupadi Murmu said the trinity of Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile has helped curb corruption and Rs 2.75 lakh crore of public money was prevented from going into the wrong hands.

“The trinity of Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) has helped curb corruption. My government has so far transferred Rs 34 lakh crore through DBT (direct benefit transfer),” she said.

Murmu said the government has continuously upheld its commitment to “reform, perform and transform”.

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