As expected, president Pranab Mukherjee’s address to the joint session of Parliament on Monday was an enunciation of the Narendra Modi government’s plans for the future. An outstanding aspect of the speech is the clarity with which the government seeks to address the issues bothering the nation. Unlike the UPA government, which seemed to believe in the trickle-down effect of the economy, Modi seems to rely on the bottom-up approach. For the first time, one could see a vision unfold itself through the words of the president. It is a vision of the nation, rooted in its civilisation, where poverty would be eliminated, rather than alleviated, and the division between India and Bharat would cease to exist.
No section from the rich to the poor, the old to the youth, the farmer to the businessman and the devout to the digital whizkid has been left out. While all controversial issues have been eschewed, every effort has been made to instil hope and faith in a prosperous India. The government has also prioritised its concerns so much so that there are identifiable timelines. The economy languishing with sub-5 per cent growth rates for the last few years has received due attention. Much of Modi’s success will hinge on how his government catapults the growth rate.
For a majority, food inflation has been the single greatest worry. Rather than feeding them with empty slogans like food security, the government wants to strengthen the public distribution system by adopting the best practices in some states and enhancing agricultural production. Given his faith in information technology, it is natural that he has promised to rely on e-governance and thus end the digital divide. It will also help translate the slogan “minimum government and maximum governance” into a reality. Strengthening Centre-state relations by strengthening the National Development Council and the Inter-State Council will help foment greater national unity and all-round progress. Facilitation of investment opportunities will help increase job opportunities. In short, the speech was Modi’s road map for progress.