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Govt to focus on sectors hit by global crisis: President Patil

New Delhi, June 4 (ANI): President Pratibha Patil on Thursday said the government would focus on sectors like small and medium enterprises (SMEs), exports, textiles, commercial vehicles, infrastructure and housing as they are adversely hit by the global financial meltdown.

Presenting the agenda of the second UPA Government at the joint session of Parliament, President Patil said, “The new Government will focus on adversely-affected sectors like infrastructure, exports, SMEs, and housing to restore the growth momentum.”

In her address, she said the immediate priority of the Government must be to focus on managing the economy to counter the effect of the global slowdown through a combination of sectoral and macro-level policies.

“Financing the investment will be a critical constraint and my government is determined to ensure that innovative steps are taken in this area, consistent with medium term strategy of prudent fiscal management,” she said.

On the foreign investment flows, she said, foreign direct investment needs to be encouraged through appropriate policy.

“There is also a need to augment resources in the banking and insurance sectors in order to permit them to serve the needs of society better,” she said.

On disinvestment, she said, ” Every citizen has a right to own the shares of public sector undertakings.”

“My Government will develop a roadmap for listing and people-ownership of public sector undertakings while ensuring that the Government equity does not fall below 51 per cent,” she added.

On the social sectors, the President said, “The Government will expand the scope of the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme, make India slum-free in the next five years and set up higher targets in the second phase of the Bharat Nirman programme.”

The President said internal security will remain the thrust area of the government with “zero-tolerance” towards terrorism and will tackle it in a “time-bound” manner.

“The Government has already prepared a detailed plan to address internal security challenges to be implemented in a time-bound manner,” she said.

To deal with security issues, she said a National Counter- Terrorism Centre would be set up to take pro-active measures to combat the menace.

“Special Forces and Quick Response Teams will be raised and deployed in vulnerable areas,” she added.

“My Government will actively pursue police reform and in order to ensure the active participation of the citizenry in internal security, community policing will be promoted,” she said.

The President said the Government would continue to constructively engage with all groups that abjure violence in the Northeast, Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the country.

Outlining the ten most important priorities of the new UPA government, she in her address said, “The UPA Government will enact the National Food Security Act to provide 25 kg of rice or wheat at Rs three a kg per month to families below the poverty.”

“My government proposes to enact a new law — the National Food Security Act — that will provide a statutory basis for a framework which assures food security for all,” Patil said in her address.

Other priority areas would be concerted action for disadvantage sections including women, SCs, STs and OBCs, governance reforms, creation and modernisation of infrastructure and capacity addition in key sectors, prudent fiscal management, energy security and environment protection, constructive and creative management with world and promotion of a culture of enterprise and innovations.

Maintaining that it was ready to address outstanding issues with neighbours, she said would seek to re-shape relationship with Pakistan depending on the sincerity of its actions to confront groups who launch terrorist attacks against India from its territory.

“My government will seek to reshape our relationship with Pakistan depending on the sincerity of Pakistan’s actions to confront groups who launch terrorist attacks against India from its territory,” she said.

“The government will sincerely work with our neighbours to ensure that outstanding issues are addressed and the full potential of our region is realised,” she added.

The President said the government will continue to maintain the “momentum” of improvement of relations with the major powers including the US and Russia.

“The transformation of our partnership with the United States of America will be taken forward. Our strategic partnership with Russia has grown over the years, and we will seek to further consolidate it,” she said.

Referring to Nepal and Bangladesh, she said India would work closely with both countries to continue expanding bilateral ties for mutual benefit.

“The Government will strengthen our close and vibrant partnerships with Bhutan and Maldives and continue to assist in the reconstruction of Afghanistan,” she added.

The President also unveiled its plan for introducing the Rajiv Awas Yojana for slum dwellers under the JNNURM on the lines of Indira Awas Yojana for rural poor.

“My government’s effort would be to create a slum free India in five years through Rajiv Awas Yojana,” she said.

The government would take steps within the next 100 days to facilitate a voluntary technical corps of professionals in all urban areas through JNNURM to support the development activities. (ANI)

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