Indian economy a haven of stability, says President
Describing India as "a haven of stability" in a turbulent global economy, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said the government has simplified procedures for approvals, repealed obsolete laws and put in place a non-adversarial tax regime to attract investments.
Addressing the joint sitting of Parliament at the start of the Budget session, the President listed out achievements of the Modi government, saying India has jumped 12 places on the ease of doing ranking of the World Bank while foreign investment inflow has risen 39 per cent.
The government has taken to reforming institutions, simplifying procedures and repealing obsolete laws, besides unlocking infrastructure development opportunities as well as focusing on clean energy and cutting subsidy leakages.
"India is a haven of stability in an increasingly turbulent global economy. GDP growth has increased making India the world's fastest growing economy among large economies," he said. Mukherjee said inflation, fiscal deficit and current account deficit have all come down and the country recorded the highest ever foreign exchange reserves in 2015.
"The government has taken a number of measures to put in place a simplified, progressive and non-adversarial tax regime by incorporating internationally prevalent best practices in tax administration," he said refering to taxpayer-friendly facilities like e-filing of returns, electronic processing and retrieval of documents and online grievance redressal.
Also, procedures have been simplified to improve ease of approvals, and dedicated commercial courts and commercial divisions in high courts have been established. "For speedy resolution of commercial disputes, the long overdue amendments to the Arbitration Act have been made," he said.
Stating that employment generation was the government's top goal, the President said job creation is being driven through initiatives like Make-in-India, Startup India, Mudra and Skill India.
Solar power was becoming increasingly affordable and accessible to thousands of people, Pranab Mukherjee said while addressing the joint session of both houses of parliament ahead of the budget session. President Pranab Mukherjee said the launch of the Startup India Campaign will deepen, expand and support the innovation ecosystem in the country.
"My government has launched Startup India campaign which would deepen, expand and support innovation ecosystem in the country," he said. The President was addressing the joint sitting of both houses of parliament, marking the traditional launch of the budget session.
He said the government's mission of skilling India has gained momentum and 76 lakh people were trained last year. Talking about the financial assistance to the farmers, Mukherjee said: "Assistance to farmers afflicted by the natural calamities has been increased by 50 percent and eligibility norms have been relaxed."
"Today, under my government, solar power is affordable and accessible to thousands of people," Mukherjee said. The President added that the government has envisaged increasing the renewable energy capacity manifold to 175 GW by 2022. "In the year 2015 India witnessed the highest ever generation of electricity," he said.
Mukherjee said that the government was keen to fully harness the agricultural potential of the eastern states and steps had been taken to usher in a second Green Revolution. Addressing the sitting joint session of parliament, the president said that the government was also working to help farmers get fair and remunerative prices. He said that the e-marketing platform was being created to connect all regulated agricultural markets.
"To fully harness agricultural potential of eastern states several steps have been taken to usher in the second green revolution," the president said. Pranab Mukherjee said the government would take firm and effective steps to deal with cross-border terrorism. "Firm and effective steps will be taken to deal with any situation arising out of cross-border terrorism. My government is fully committed to firmly deal with all challenges concerning the security of the country," said Mukherjee. The President was addressing the joint sitting of both houses of parliament, marking the traditional beginning of the budget session.
Calling terrorism a global threat, he expressed the need for strong counter-terrorism measures worldwide to eradicate the menace completely.
Mukherjee also congratulated the Indian security forces in successfully foiling the recent terrorist attack at Pathankot airbase. "We are indebted to those who inspire us by their selfless service and their supreme sacrifice in the line of duty," said the President. He also said that security forces play an important role in tackling threats in the country's northeast and the areas influenced by Left-wing extremism.
The government will allow women in all fighter streams of the armed forces, Pranab Mukherjee said. "Shakti, which means power, is the manifestation of female energy. This shakti defines our strength. My government has approved induction of women as short service commission officers and as fighter pilots in Indian Air Force," he said. "In the future, my government will induct women in all fighter streams of our armed forces," the President said in his address to the joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.